Wren Propp
The Los Alamos Public School Board listened to testimony about start times Tuesday.
No change for LAPS start time

After two hours of comments from students, parents and coaches, and debate among themselves, the Los Alamos Public Schools board split three to two to retain current start times for its eight schools.

The vote on Tuesday night followed months of study of later start times – in the hope of improving adolescents’ opportunity to sleep.

More than 20 people, including several students, spoke in favor of keeping the same start time, and dismissal.

Many said they were concerned that starting later would mean ending later, and extracurricular activities, after-school pursuits and family time would have to be curtailed.

Despite the strong opposition to a potential change, board members Ellen Ben-Naim and Bill Hargraves said they supported pushing back start times to help address young peoples’ severe lack of sleep.

“We need to look at what we’re asking our kids to do,” Ben-Naim said.

Sleep is as necessary as food, shelter and clothing, she said.

Ben-Naim and Hargraves voted against a motion, made by board member Stephen Boerigter, to retain the current school starts times for all the schools. Board President Jenny McCumber and Board Vice President Andrea Cunningham, who was calling in from New Orleans, voted in support of Boerigter’s motion.