American Rescue Plan School Relief Funds – Manchester School District

Manchester’s plan appears to prioritize programs and resources for students with disabilities well. We were unable to identify specific programs or resources devoted to transition planning. We were unable to find plan updates* or opportunities for stakeholder engagement.



Additional Information

What we know

  • The Manchester School District is receiving $95 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan (ARP).  The grant requires that 20% of this (or $19 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 and related information is available at http://mansd.org/esser.

What we found

  • Manchester’s plan includes proposals to hire two additional Board Certified Behavior Analysts, four special education administration assistants, three full-time special educators, five clinicians (OT/SLP/psych), eighteen interventionists, and four guidance counselors. It also proposes $175,000 towards tutoring programs.  We could not identify programs or resources specifically addressing transition planning or services.

What we recommend

  • On February 15, 2022, we sent the district a letter with specific recommendations for meaningful stakeholder engagement. We have not received a response to this letter or to our numerous requests for more detailed information.  Our recommendations included the following: 
    • Update the ‘ESSER’ page on the district website (org/ESSER), which currently contains only a link to the use of funds plan, to also include a current list of ways for stakeholders to provide input.
    • 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 district website, including both a telephone number and email address.
    • Download our letter to the Manchester School District: Recommendations for Meaningful Stakeholder Consultation Regarding ARP ESSER III Funds
  •  Manchester’s plan should 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.


About DRCNH

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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