Non-profit

National School Boards Association

Website:

www.nsba.org/

Location:

ALEXANDRIA, VA

Tax ID:

36-2210015

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $19,241,395
Expenses: $17,251,748
Assets: $13,752,980

Website:

nsba.org 

Location:

Alexandria, Virginia

Type:

Education Advocacy

Board Chair:

Viola Garcia

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a federation of state education organizations that claims to represent local public school board members across the United States. The NSBA pressures elected officials to implement left-of-center education policies and supports school boards which adopt such policies. [1]

The NSBA generated nationwide controversy and attracted widespread criticism in the fall of 2021, when news broke that the organization had coordinated with the Biden administration to try to place parents protesting school curricula and policies at school board meetings under federal investigation. Due to the backlash, numerous state school board associations took steps to distance or separate from the national organization. [2]

Background

National School Boards Association was founded in 1940 as the National Council of State School Board Associations. The organization cites the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which significantly increased taxpayer funding for education programs, as the impetus for expanding its lobbying activities. Since then, the NSBA has opposed any movement towards re-examining the scale of taxpayer funding for public schools; the organization describes itself as having been “in the trenches” during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, whose administration attempted to scale back certain government education programs, and even during the presidency of Bill Clinton, a Democrat. [3]

Impact

National School Boards Association claims as of late 2021 that its member federations and boards oversee a total of more than 90,000 school board members in approximately 13,000 school districts across the United States, as well as the nearly 51 million students who attend public schools in those districts. In addition, NSBA claims that its publication, the American School Board Journal, has more than 23,000 active subscribers, and that its monthly newsletter reaches more than 50,000 school administrators and education officials. The NSBA also claims to maintain a network of more than 3,000 education attorneys. The organization’s Annual Conference and Exposition draws more than 7,500 attendees on average. The NSBA touts its reach as an opportunity for prospective corporate sponsors, urging them to invest in the organization and claiming that sponsors will “maximize” their “reach and return on investment.” [4]

Affiliated Organizations

National School Boards Association operates subordinate councils and advocacy groups. This includes the Center for Public Education, a think tank which promotes left-of-center education policies and increased taxpayer funding for public schools, and the Council of School Attorneys, a legal activist organization. [5] [6] The NSBA also oversees several education councils explicitly organized by ethnicity that operate semi-independently from the national body of school board members. These include separate groups for Black, Hispanic, and American Indian education officials. [7]

The NSBA has a sister organization, the National School Boards Action Center (NSBAC), which engages in lobbying and other pressure campaigns to advance left-of-center education policy proposals. [8]

“Domestic Terrorism” Letter Controversy

National School Boards Association came into the national spotlight in the fall of 2021 during a nationwide campaign by parents of public-school children concerned by the perceived proliferation of far-left race and gender ideology in school curricula, as well as by school closings, face-mask mandates, and other ostensibly COVID-19-related restrictions on school operations. The organization sent the Biden administration a letter in September 2021 in which it claimed that school board members had been subjected to harassment and threats of violence and requested that federal law enforcement investigate parent groups for alleged “domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” [9]

In particular, NSBA cited the arrest of a man for alleged disruptive behavior at a school board meeting in Loudon County, Virginia earlier that year. The man was the father of a teenage girl who had been sexually assaulted in a bathroom by a male student whom it was alleged claimed to be “gender-fluid,” and the man alleged that the Loudon County school board had initially denied the incident. The NSBA letter reflected neither of those claims. [10]

Less than a week after the NSBA sent its letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum directing the Department of Justice to begin investigating parents and advocacy groups opposing school boards. According to a statement by a whistleblower, the agency instructed its personnel to begin putting together “threat assessments” of individuals and organizations involved in protesting school policies and curricula. In October 2021, media outlets started reporting on the letter and the federal response, prompting a backlash from parent groups and Republican lawmakers. The NSBA soon issued a statement apologizing for the letter, but as of November 2021, more than half of state school board associations across the country had taken steps to distance themselves from the national organizations, and 12 state associations had formally broken ties with the NSBA. [11] According to a press release by right-leaning education organization Parents Defending Education, as of December 8, 2021, over 27 state affiliates have distanced themselves from the letter and as many as 18 state affiliates have withdrawn from the organization. [12]

Leadership

Viola Garcia has been the president of the NSBA since October 2021. The Biden administration appointed her to the position shortly after she co-wrote the organization’s letter to President Joe Biden demanding that he use the Department of Justice to target parents protesting school boards. Garcia cited a supposed “immediate threat” to education officials across the country, which she claimed “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.” [13]

Garcia is a member of the Aldine, Texas independent school district board of trustees and the Mexican American School Board Members Association. She previously worked for the Texas Association of School Boards, where she moved up through the ranks from regional director to secretary-treasurer to president. Garcia received her doctoral and masters’ degrees in education from the University of Houston, and completed her undergraduate education at Texas Women’s University. [14]

Chip Slaven is the interim executive director and chief executive officer of the NSBA. He joined the organization in 2019 as chief advocacy officer and was responsible for overseeing lobbying efforts by state school board associations and their members. He also managed the NSBAC and Center for Public Education. Slaven received his undergraduate and law degrees from West Virginia University. [15]

Jane Mellow is the interim chief advocacy officer of the NSBA, temporarily replacing Chip Slaven. Like Slaven, Mellow joined the organization in 2019 as managing director for federal advocacy and public policy. She previously spent more than a decade working as a legislative director on Capitol Hill for West Virginia Democrats, first for former U.S. Representative Bob Wise (D-WV) and later former U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). The Obama administration later appointed Mellow to the Department of Transportation, where she was the director of public affairs for the Federal Highway Administration. Mellow received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from West Virginia University. [16] [17]

Verjeana McCotter-Jacobs is the chief transformation officer of the NSBA. She oversees the implementation of left-progressive race, gender, and other initiatives into the organization’s agenda. McCotter-Jacobs was previously the president of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education and chair of the NSBA Council of Urban Boards of Education. She is also a licensed attorney in Maryland and the District of Columbia. [18] In 2019, McCotter-Jacobs had an annual salary of nearly $200,000. [19]

Financials

In 2019, the NSBA received just over $490,000 in contributions and grants. The overwhelming majority of the organization’s revenue – more than $17.4 million of its $19.2 million in total revenue – came from membership dues and other program service fees. The organization paid out more than $7.7 million in salaries and other compensation, including annual salaries of between $100,000 and $400,000 to its senior leadership. At the same time, the NSBA reported more than $15 million in net liabilities at the end of its 2019 fiscal year. [20]

References

  1. “About Us.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/About ^
  2. “National School Boards Association Removes Letter Comparing Parents to Domestic Terrorists from Its Website.” The Minnesota Sun. November 18, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://theminnesotasun.com/2021/11/18/national-school-boards-association-removes-letter-comparing-parents-to-domestic-terrorists-from-its-website/ ^
  3. “NSBA History.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/About/NSBA-History ^
  4. “About Us.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/About ^
  5. “Center for Public Education.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/Services/Center-for-Public-Education ^
  6. “Council of School Attorneys.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/Services/Council-of-School-Attorneys ^
  7. “About Us.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/About ^
  8. “About Us.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/About ^
  9. “National School Boards Association Removes Letter Comparing Parents to Domestic Terrorists from Its Website.” The Minnesota Sun. November 18, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://theminnesotasun.com/2021/11/18/national-school-boards-association-removes-letter-comparing-parents-to-domestic-terrorists-from-its-website/ ^
  10. Jessica Chasmar. “Loudoun County father arrested at school board event says school tried to cover up daughter’s bathroom assault.” Fox News. October 12, 2021. November 20, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/loudoun-county-father-school-cover-up-bathroom-assault-daughter ^
  11. “National School Boards Association Removes Letter Comparing Parents to Domestic Terrorists from Its Website.” The Minnesota Sun. November 18, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://theminnesotasun.com/2021/11/18/national-school-boards-association-removes-letter-comparing-parents-to-domestic-terrorists-from-its-website/ ^
  12. “State School Board Associations’ Responses to the NSBA Letter.” State School Board Associations’ Responses to the NSBA Letter. Parents Defending Education, December 8, 2021. https://defendinged.org/press-releases/state-school-board-associations-responses-to-the-nsba-letter/. ^
  13. Mark Moore. “NSBA chief who penned ‘domestic terrorism’ letter named to federal post.” New York Post. October 26, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://nypost.com/2021/10/26/viola-garcia-to-sit-on-national-assessment-governing-board/ ^
  14. “Viola M. Garcia Elected National School Boards Association President.” National School Boards Association. April 10, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://nsba.org/News/2021/board-leadership-announcement ^
  15. “Senior Leadership Bios.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/Senior-Leadership-Bios ^
  16. Brian Palmer. “What Does an Exalted Cyclops Do?” Slate. June 30, 2010. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2010/06/robert-byrd-was-an-exalted-cyclops-in-the-ku-klux-klan-what-does-that-mean.html ^
  17. “Senior Leadership Bios.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/Senior-Leadership-Bios ^
  18. “Senior Leadership Bios.” National School Boards Association. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.nsba.org/Senior-Leadership-Bios ^
  19. National School Boards Association Inc 2019 Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/362210015/12_2020_prefixes_35-41%2F362210015_201912_990_2020120317465098 ^
  20. National School Boards Association Inc 2019 Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/362210015/12_2020_prefixes_35-41%2F362210015_201912_990_2020120317465098 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1954

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $19,241,395 $17,251,748 $13,752,980 $28,852,340 Y $491,656 $17,455,669 $16,780 $1,522,516 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $18,775,648 $17,247,185 $13,398,045 $27,933,490 Y $215,627 $17,062,359 $1,493 $1,466,650 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $18,380,173 $17,695,722 $12,000,151 $29,980,472 Y $1,000 $16,955,101 $803 $1,334,104 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $6,228,735 $7,433,188 $9,852,258 $32,212,412 Y $38,500 $5,518,089 $1,192 $697,794 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $18,826,924 $18,245,675 $5,599,183 $27,688,916 Y $205,830 $17,402,376 $812 $1,395,587
    2015 Jun Form 990 $18,164,246 $18,381,694 $3,074,137 $22,037,625 Y $6,309 $17,163,342 $336 $1,510,241 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $19,415,267 $19,637,446 $6,193,738 $21,951,505 Y $2,576,216 $16,588,127 $2,839 $1,482,100 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $19,062,267 $19,113,098 $7,688,078 $20,611,180 Y $2,324,666 $16,173,352 $3,180 $1,493,831 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $20,632,504 $18,956,611 $7,410,271 $23,807,588 Y $3,056,477 $17,271,776 $3,579 $1,419,027 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $21,669,851 $21,539,221 $7,615,358 $16,672,798 Y $3,680,485 $17,699,827 $6,570 $1,510,289 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National School Boards Association

    1680 DUKE ST FL 2
    ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314-3455