**In a shocking move, a New Hampshire school district has decided to use COVID Relief funds to finance a drag show for a high school’s Pride event, raising concerns about the misuse of taxpayer money.**
The Manchester School District has allocated $4,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for Manchester High School West’s June 2 Pride Event. The funding, approved through the city’s Community Event and Activation Grant (CEAG) program, includes paying $500 for drag performers to appear at the public school.
Despite concerns, Manchester School District Superintendent Jennifer Gillis justified the event by stating that it is optional for students and falls in line with district policies. “Events such as this are consistent with the goals of our community-developed strategic plan,” Gillis said. She further explained that the event has been well-attended in the past.
Richella Simard, Manchester West art teacher responsible for applying for the grant, also requested additional funds for various event necessities, including a photo booth, film, PA system, tables, and chafing dishes. Moreover, Simard requested an extra $500 for unspecified “Pride decorations and swag.” The overall cost of the event is estimated to exceed $6,000.
Tina Kim Philibotte, the Manchester School District’s chief equity officer, argued that the event is “essential” for the lives of LGBTQ students. “Joyful spaces where LGBTQ+ youth feel loved, celebrated, and centered is the work of public education,” Philibotte said.
Meanwhile, Democrat Mayor Joyce Craig, who approved the funding for the event, is currently preparing for a gubernatorial run.
**The decision to utilize COVID Relief funds for a high school drag show has brought the spotlight on the controversial allocation of taxpayer money, calling into question the priorities of elected officials. The event’s cost, totalling over $6,000, further underscores the need for fiscal responsibility and transparency in our public institutions.**