In Florida, a new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis will require middle and high school students to start school at or after 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, beginning in the 2026-2027 school year.
The change in school start times will take effect July 1, 2026, giving Florida children and parents more time to adjust to the new start times.
The bill, HB733, which also applies to charter schools and aims to give students more time to sleep, has some parents concerned, with one parent telling CBS that busing her child to school is already a “nightmare.”
In Lee County, parent Christa Deaton told CBS Southwest Florida that she’s not happy about the new hours, saying “there’s no reason to change anything.”
“Half the week I have to drive my son because the bus is inconsistent. The app doesn’t show where he is or where the bus is. The numbers aren’t lining up,” she said.
This concern is apparently echoed in Florida’s busy school districts.
In April, Joseph Sanches, chief operating officer for the Palm Beach County district, announced that the district would need additional bus drivers and buses for the upcoming start of middle and high school. This is due to the fact that fewer bus routes can be stacked back-to-back and instead must be run simultaneously, USA Today reported.
According to Palm Beach County school officials, the implementation of the new law will further strain the district’s already overburdened bus system.
The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is responsible for overseeing the state’s school bus fleet. The FDOE sets standards for school bus safety, including the type of vehicles that can be used, the training that drivers must receive, and the maintenance that must be performed on the buses. The FDOE also conducts inspections of school buses to ensure that they are safe to operate.