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Later School Start May Be A ‘No Go’
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Senate Bill 328 would see a nearly hour later start for high school classes in California – if approved – but local officials said they aren’t sure it would be a good fit for Oakdale.

During the Oakdale Joint Unified School District school board meeting earlier this month, Assistant Superintendent/Human Resources Craig Redman presented the board with information on the Senate bill, which could see approval for grades nine through 12 beginning classes at 8:30 a.m.

In Oakdale, that would mean moving the start time by 50 minutes, starting classes almost an hour later than the current schedule.

“We don’t believe that all of California (schools) were considered when this bill was created,” stated Redman. “As a result, we don’t think it’s a need for our students to start later.”

Redman said he would be clarifying certain points of the bill and how the Oakdale district could be impacted at the next school board meeting on Feb. 7. That Monday night meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Tech Center for open session.

Redman added, “We will still offer zero period regardless of the Senate Bill 328.”

Some OHS students turning out for the January school board meeting voiced concerns about losing that ‘zero’ period – offered prior to the official start of the school day – if the bill goes into effect. Several took the podium to make their case to keep that period intact.

Freshman Catherine Davis, sophomore Brayden Costa, junior Esteban Arauza, and junior Jessica Garcia spoke as current students at OHS in Jazz Band that take the class during zero period, and commented at the school board meeting with their feelings if indeed the period got taken away.

“My parents work very early in the morning, zero period also helps me cope with stress and lets me be with music, which is very important to me,” Garcia stated.

“I’ve been spending the past eight years with music, and without zero period, I wouldn’t have Jazz band, and the opportunity to major in music,” Arauza added.

Davis said the zero period is crucial for her.

“My mom has to be at work by 7 a.m. and we live 30 minutes away, Jazz band and zero period allows me to get to school on time,” she explained.

“Extracurricular activities are a crucial part of many students’ high school experiences, 30.6 percent of students who participate in activities in zero period have a GPA of 3.0 and higher,” Costa pointed out.

Redman said following the meeting that the district has no plans to do away with zero period. Students attending may have heard some rumors on campus that it would be cut if the late start went into effect and took the opportunity to speak out in front of the board.