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MSHSL board of directors approves membership dues model

In its commitment to build a sustainable financial model and to provide ongoing support and services for member schools, the Minnesota State High School League’s Board of Directors today approved a plan recommended by the Financial Advisory Committee for membership dues.

Membership dues will be based on a membership fee, a per-student fee and a per-activity fee. Through revenue sharing, excess funds at the end of the fiscal year would reduce membership fees the following school year.

The development of the sustainable model was established as a Strategic Direction by the Board of Directors in the fall of 2019.  The revenue target determined to ensure financial stability from membership dues is $4.5 million annually. This amount is projected to diminish in subsequent years by offsetting membership dues with excess revenue from state tournament ticket sales, broadcast and streaming, and sponsorships from the previous year. The model includes modifications for member schools with enrollments of 40 or fewer students.

“The approval of the membership dues and activities fees is critical to the future success of the League,” said Blaine Novak, superintendent at New York Mills and president of the Board of Directors. “Equally important is establishing the practice of reducing future membership dues through the use of excess revenues.”

Additionally, the Board approved a preliminary budget of $9.1 million for the 2021-2022 school year. This budget is less than the budget approved pre-pandemic in 2019-2020 at $9.6 million. During the 2020-2021 school year, the League had a $5.9 million budget.

“The approval of a self-sustaining budget that is not subject to the revenue sources derived from state tournaments allows the League to continue to provide the programming and services our member schools have grown to expect,” Novak said. “There is a great appreciation for the work the Financial Advisory Committee did in establishing a sustainable membership dues target that is appropriate for all member schools.”

In other board action:

• Approved the list of sponsors and partner organizations that receive complimentary tickets to League events.

• Approved the yearly selection of speech books and topics for the 2021-2022 season.

• Approved the selection of Board Officers for 2021-20222, Tom Jerome (superintendent, Roseau) was selected president; Troy Stein (activities director, Edina High School), was selected vice president and Jim Smokrovich (principal at East Ridge High School), was selected treasurer.

• Approved the formation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. A group of Board Members and League Staff have previously met to develop the draft of a framework of a committee that is in line with the League’s strategic direction. The committee’s mission is to create and promote a culture where diversity, equity and inclusion are valued and respected, and would be a hallmark of all League programs.

• Approved the continuation of the annual sponsorships with Spalding and Baden through 2025 and to extend the partnership with Smitty Officials Apparel for an additional two years.

• Welcomed new board members who will begin their service on August 1: Suzy Guthmueller, Centennial, MSBA; Jeanna Lilleberg, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, MSBA; Don Peschel, Brandon-Evansville, MASA; Lisa Quednow, Austin, Regions 1-2AA; Dave Rocheleau, Pierz, Regions 5-6A; Teri Staloch, Prior Lake-Savage, MASA.

• Celebrated and honored outgoing board members: President Blaine Novak, New York Mills; Todd Waterbury, Mankato East; Mike Domin, Crosby-Ironton; Kirby Ekstrom, North Branch; and Frank White, Woodbury.