We could not determine whether or not the Nashua school district is distributing its ARP ESSER funding in an equitable manner in order to assist the students who need it the most, including students with disabilities. We were unable to find plan updates*.
What we know
- The Nashua School District is receiving $47 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The grant requires that 20% of this (or $9.4 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 is available at https://www.nashua.edu/domain/1014.
What we found
- We could not identify programs or resources that:
- Target students with disabilities, students who were struggling before the pandemic, and students who belong to marginalized communities or were unable to access instruction due to limited access to technology.
- Identify the extent of learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
- Address students’ emotional and behavioral challenges in a manner that will support students’ success and achievement
- Promote the delivery of high-quality, individualized school to post-secondary school transition 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, though the district did create a dedicated webpage with information on the use of ARP ESSER III funds. Additional recommendations included the following:
- 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, telephone number, 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.
- Download our letter to the Nashua School District: Recommendations for Meaningful Stakeholder Consultation Regarding ARP ESSER III Funds
- Nashua’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.