SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California regulators have announced a new rule that bans farmers from using certain pesticides near schools and day care centers. The Department of Pesticide Regulation announced the new rule Tuesday, which it says is among the nation’s strictest pesticide regulations. It takes effect Jan. 1. The new rule will prohibit farmers from spraying a variety of pesticides within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and licensed daycare centers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the school week. Regulators say they want to protect schoolchildren in rural communities from pesticides that blow in from nearby farms and have sometimes sickened students and teachers. Farmers say it’s unnecessary because there are seldom, if ever, problems.