The National School Boards Association is facing a possible seven-figure funding shortfall after 17 state boards associations voted to cut ties with the national group over the last month.
The funding shortfall is the latest consequence of the NSBA’s September letter to the White House that compared parents protesting at school board meetings to domestic terrorists and called on the DOJ and FBI to use the Patriot Act to investigate them.
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In response to the letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland formed a joint FBI-DOJ task force to investigate threats against school board members. Later, the NSBA apologized for the letter as its affiliated groups at the state level voted to cut ties with the national group.
Garland, for his part, stood by his decision to organize the task force in October testimony to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. In November, House Republicans revealed an internal email from the FBI that showed the agency was actively using counterterrorism tools to monitor threats against school board members.
Without the membership dues that the NSBA commands from its affiliated state associations, the national organization is facing a seven-figure shortfall from its usual income levels. Axios reported that the withdrawn state associations accounted for 42% of the $2.6 million the NSBA received in dues payments in 2019.
The 17 state organizations that have voted to leave the NSBA, which include higher-population states such as Florida and Pennsylvania, gave the national association $1.1 million in dues in 2019. But that number alone does not paint the full picture of the effect of the dissociations.
“The $1.1 million figure likely undercounts state associations' financial support, which also includes contributions related to NSBA conferences and events,” the Axios report said.
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A spokesperson for the NSBA told Axios that the outlet’s reporting of the organization’s 2019 finances does "not reflect the complete or current state of affairs for NSBA” and that the group “continues to have the resources we need to be effective on behalf of our members.”