National School Board Association Could Take Million-Dollar Financial Hit as State Chapters Withdraw

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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) could lose more than a million dollars in funding, as state chapters ended their membership and stopped paying dues in the backlash against a letter likening parents’ protests to domestic terrorism.

In its Sept. 29 letter (pdf) to President Joe Biden, the NSBA characterized disruptions at school board meetings as “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crime.” The organization also urged the federal government to invoke counterterrorism laws to quell “angry mobs” of parents seeking to hold school officials accountable for teaching the Marxism-rooted critical race theory and for imposing COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates on their children.

Although the NSBA offered an apology for “some of the language” used in the widely criticized letter, the fallout continued. As of this Monday, 27 state school board associations have distanced themselves from the national federation, saying they were not consulted or informed on the letter’s content. Seventeen of them have terminated their membership, citing disagreements over the characterization of school board meeting disruptions, or the idea that federal intervention is need in handling those disruptions, or both.

These 17 chapters collectively contributed $1.1 million to NSBA’s funding in 2019, according to NSBA records (pdf) presented during a recent meeting with the Florida School Board Association, which also has severed ties with the national group. This accounted for 42 percent of the $2.6 million annual dues paid to the NSBA by all 49 state chapters in that year.

The state chapter departures would likely cost the NSBA more than the $1.1 million in annual dues, according to Axios, who obtained the documents. The outlet noted that these chapters had been financially supporting the NSBA in many other ways, such as subsidizing its programs and events.

For example, the Montana School Boards Association (MSBA), which discontinued its membership in November, originally budgeted to pay $68,666 as dues for 2021-2022 but had planned to invest in NSBA nearly $180,000 in total, Axios noted, citing an internal memo (pdf). The extra expenses included $27,000 for an NSBA regional conference, $21,000 for NSBA’s advocacy institute, $35,000 for NSBA annual meeting, and $28,000 for NSBA staff professional development.

By GQ Pan

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MTSBA Board Consideration of NSBA Membership PDF


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