Back to school: First day, start times, bus info and other essentials

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Manchester School LogoMANCHESTER, NH – With just a few weeks left to swim and picnic and camp and sleep-in and not ask kids about homework, it’s time to think ahead.

When does school begin?

Manchester public schools will welcome students in grades 1-12 back on September 2, 2015, a Wednesday, with the exception of pre-k and kindergarten students, who start September 8.

The district says among the benefits of delaying the start for younger students, schools will be able to offer a kindergarten orientation prior to the first day, process new registrations, and take more time to thoughtfully create classroom assignments. The district says its goal is to provide a smoother transition for youngest students arriving at school for the first time.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.35.07 AMFamilies will hear from their schools in the next couple of weeks with information about what they need to know. If your child is new to Manchester schools and they are not yet registered, it’s time. The necessary registration forms are available online and can be filled out ahead of time. Administrative assistants are back at work on August 18. You can bring that information directly to your neighborhood school.

Click here for a complete listing of schools.

Below is the start time/daily schedule by grade levels:

Elementary schools  K-5

8:20 a.m.   Arrival Time

8:35 a.m.   Instruction Begins

2:35 p.m.   Dismissal

Half-day preschool

9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Full-day preschool at Smyth Road and Highland-Goffe’s Falls

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Middle schools

7:20 a.m.   Arrival Time

7:35 a.m.   Instruction Begin
2 p.m.        Dismissal

High schools

7:45 a.m.   Instruction Begins

2:42 p.m.  Dismissal

School calendars will be distributed to all students.  Should you not receive a school calendar please visit the District website at or request one from your child’s school.

About school lunches:

The cost of the elementary school lunch meal is $2 and the middle/high school lunch meal is $2.25. The reduced meal price is 40 cents.  This year parents can create a school lunch account at which monitors all student meal account balances and meal participation history on line. There is no charge for using this service to check account balances and history.

Secure deposits can be made to student lunch accounts by debit or credit card. You can also set up automatic recurring payments to student accounts. A fee of $1.95 per transaction is charged by for this service. Cash and checks will still be acceptable forms of payment at school cafeterias or the District Food Service Office. will not update with student information unless the student’s current/correct school site, grade level, and an 8-digit student ID number are on file in If a student changes schools within the district, information will need to be manually updated in the website.

Click here for free/reduced lunch applications.


About bus service/schedules:

From the district website:

In accordance with New Hampshire law, the Manchester School District provides school bus service to public school students in grades 1 through 8 who live more than 1.4 miles from the school to which they are assigned.   Transportation for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students is not required by law and is not provided by the Manchester School District.

Exceptions to the 1.4-mile requirement may apply in the cases of students with physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities covered by applicable state and federal laws and regulations.  In addition, the District may provide transportation in areas where a safety hazard has been determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee.

Students attending grades 1 through 8 in approved private schools shall be entitled to the same transportation privileges as those extended to public school students.

The Manchester School District provides buses for high school students in areas not covered by regular routes of the Manchester Transit Authority.  High school students pay for transportation at a student rate determined by the transportation company and the Manchester School District (see below).  The aforementioned rules for student bus conduct apply on buses ridden by high school students. If the student fails to conform to these rules and regulations the District and the transportation company may revoke the student’s privilege to ride the bus.

*NHRSA 189:6 allows districts to refuse to transport students who live up to 2 miles from school.        

Bus schedules will be posted via the district site prior to the start of school. [We’ll keep an eye out and add that information as soon as it’s available.]

Bus tickets for high school students are available for purchase in the high school office cost of $8.50 for 10 rides. Click here for MTA routes and schedules. Students will be allowed to ride yellow High school buses free of charge Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 2-4 to allow for the purchase of tickets. This does not apply to MTA transit buses.  Fares will be charged beginning Tuesday, September 8. All students boarding the bus must present a ticket to the driver. There is no assistance program in place for bus tickets.

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About Carol Robidoux 5853 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!