Portsmouth School Board OKs Later Start Times for High School Students

Nov 30, 2016

The Portsmouth School Board voted Tuesday night to make the start of the school day about an hour later for middle and high school students.

Next year, middle and high schoolers in Portsmouth will start the school day at about 8:30. The current start time is 7:30.

Research shows the extra time can make a big difference for students in everything from emotional well-being to academic performance.

Board member Patrick Ellis voted in favor of the change.

“Those students, their body clock shifts during adolescence. It shifts back when they become adults. But during that window, they’re just naturally up later.”

The School Board estimates the change will cost the district about 164,000 dollars in new bussing costs. That’s out of a total budget of more than 40 million dollars.

Portsmouth is now the second school district in the state to push back its start time. The Oyster River School District, which includes the towns of Durham, Lee, and Madbury made a similar change earlier this month.