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Montana School Boards Association leaving national group

| November 5, 2021 7:00 AM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana School Boards Association has voted to leave the National School Boards Association next summer, saying the organization has lost its focus in supporting local school boards offering professional development and advocating for quality education.

The Montana association is leaving in June 2022, at the end of the term for which it has paid dues, Executive Director Lance Melton said Tuesday.

Under the motion approved Monday, the MTBSA plans to work with other state associations to create a new national organization "to meet the federal advocacy and related needs of its member school boards" in a way that "values community ownership through school board governance" and engagement of students, families and community members.

Melton said the MTSBA reluctantly renewed its membership in the National School Boards Association in July.

The final straw was a letter written by the interim CEO and NSBA president in September asking President Joe Biden for federal law enforcement assistance to deal with threats of violence and intimidation over COVID-19 requirements at schools.

The letter was written without the knowledge of other NSBA officers, senior staff, its directors or state organizations, Melton said.

Melton has said most conflict issues during school board meetings can be handled by local law enforcement.

School board associations in 25 states have distanced themselves from the national organization, Melton said.