American Rescue Plan School Relief Funds – Laconia School District

We were unable to identify any programs specifically devoted to students with disabilities or other marginalized groups. We were unable to find plan updates* or current opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

Additional Information

What we know

  •  The Laconia School District is receiving $14 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan (ARP).  The grant requires that 20% of this (or $2.8 million) is specifically allocated towards ‘learning loss recovery’ which is understood to include special education supports and services.
  • The district’s original plan outlining how it hoped to spend the funds can be accessed via the district hompage at Assistant Superintendent Amy Hinds informed us that an updated version of the plan is scheduled to be posted soon.

What we found

  • Although Laconia’s funding plan states ‘All learners will have equal access to use these funds, including Special Education, Title I Students, ESOL Students, and Free and Reduced lunch Students’, we were unable to identify any specific programs or resources to support these students. The district did not respond to our numerous requests for more detailed information.
  • We could not identify programs or resources that address students’ emotional and behavioral challenges in a manner that will support students’ success and achievement.
  • Assistant Superintendent Amy Hinds told us that families can provide input through parent meetings, school board meetings, and via survey, and said these are ongoing efforts.  We were not provided specific details about these opportunities.

What we recommend

  • Increase opportunities for stakeholder engagement:
    • Hold dedicated public meetings for discussing ARP ESSER III fund allocation, at least every six months and upon any major changes or additions to the use of funds plan.
    • Provide alternative and accessible ways for the public to provide their input during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as an online survey, dedicated email address, etc. Make this information available and easy to find on the district website, school websites, and other easily accessible locations.
    • Publicize opportunities for consultation and ways for families to find up-to-date information via social media, school email, and other relevant platforms.
    • Designate an individual or team within the district who stakeholders may contact with questions or comments regarding the district’s use of ESSER III funds (e.g. school board members, district grants manager, etc.). List the contact information for this individual or team on the school website including both a telephone number and email address – ideally, on a virtual hub of information pertaining to ESSER funds (as recommended above).
  • Distribute funding in an equitable manner to assist the students who need it the most, including students with disabilities. A letter with our specific recommendations is available HERE.

*Six Month Updates

School districts were required to provide the NH Department of Education (NHDOE) with an update of how they are using these funds by February 23, 2022.  This deadline was recently moved to March 9, 2022.  On March 9th, we reached out to the NH DOE requesting access to these six month updates but were told it would take a while for them to be posted publicly.  We will continue to monitor their status and will update our analysis accordingly.


Disability Rights Center – New Hampshire is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers for people with disabilities across New Hampshire. DRC is the federally designated protection and advocacy agency for New Hampshire and has authority under federal law to conduct investigations in cases of probable abuse or neglect.

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