Some Minnesota high schools are refusing to pay MSHSL's pandemic fee

The installment fees were approved as a "short-term" budget fix.
Publish date:

Some southern Minnesota high schools remain steadfast in their refusal to pay the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) thousands of dollars in COVID-19 "installment" fees.

The MSHSL, facing a significant budget shortfall due to the cancellation of revenue-generating state tournaments, introduced the new installment fees in in September 2020. The fees were described as a "short-term" fix to help weather the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The fees themselves were split into two payments, with the total amount varying based on school size. The smallest schools were asked to pay $1,000 in total, with the largest schools (enrollment above 1,233) facing an $11,000 bill.

These installment payments were in addition to the regular annual membership dues and activity fees schools pay.

Immediately, many schools pushed back, as the Star Tribune reported at the time.

Now, more than half a year later and with the second installment payment due many weeks ago, some school districts have opted to simply not pay.

Albert Lea High School, for example, received a notice from the MSHSL on April 6, saying it owed $9,000 immediately and the school is "no longer in good standing." The letter also noted that membership in 2021-22 requires paying off any past due membership dues.

"Albert Lea Area School’s is concerned about MSHSL imposing additional Covid Fees on member schools when they do not have the authority within their bylaws to do so," Mike Funk, superintendent of Albert Lea Schools, told Bring Me The News.

James Hecimovich, superintendent and 7-12 principal for Kingsland Public Schools, has been pushing back against the MSHSL publicly for months. He sent a letter on Dec. 20 to Sen. Jeremy Miller, asking for help and calling the new fees "disproportionately inequitable" for smaller schools. He described them as "blatantly unjust," and "a form of taxation without representation."

Kingsland High School's installment fees totaled $5,000. They also received a notice on April 6 noting the school was no longer in good standing.

The MSHSL has argued these added fees are needed. In a normal season, about three-fourths of the organization's operating costs are covered by profit from the state tournaments. With those events not occurring as normal over the past year, the MSHSL faces a significant financial shortfall.

The MSHSL, in an email statement to Bring Me The News, pointed to its 35% reduction in budget during the pandemic, adding: 

"The League continues to work with member schools in the area of membership fees and is appreciative of the 90 percent of member schools that have met all membership responsibility and continue to partner with the League in our mission to provide co-curricular opportunities for students"

Weather with Sven

Next Up

Jaylen Twyman

Vikings rookie Jaylen Twyman shot in Washington D.C.

The sixth-round pick is expected to make a full recovery

Sylvia Fowles

Napheesa Collier, Sylvia Fowles named to Olympic women's basketball team

The Lynx stars will try to help U.S.A. win their seventh straight gold medal.

Pixabay - gavel court

Man accused of dropping 42-pound cinder block on victim's head found guilty

The victim suffered severe brain trauma and was eventually transferred to a long-term care facility.


Woman, 57, identified as Zumbro River drowning victim

She drowned Friday afternoon in the southeastern Minnesota river.

Go Fund Me - Adam Richard Johnson

Fundraiser to help get 'decent funeral and burial' for man found dismembered

Adam Richard Johnson is described as a beloved father and family member.

FLickr - AL Franken 2016 - Lorie Shaull

Al Franken announces live Minneapolis show as part of 15-city tour

The former senator continues to inch back into the public limelight.

Stock U of M sign

U of M reveals new safety measures following shooting that injured 5

Expect a larger, more prominent law enforcement presence in nearby neighborhoods.


New $440M wood manufacturing plant to be built on Iron Range

A $15 million forgivable state loan for the project was approved Monday.

State Capitol.

After GOP filibusters, lawmakers have 9 days to pass budget bills

If the Minnesota Legislature doesn't pass its budget bills by June 30, the government will shutdown on July 1.


high school football

High school football, volleyball to return this fall, MSHSL decides

The league's board held an emergency meeting on Monday.


Only 'school-approved' fans to be allowed at MSHSL tournament games

The MSHSL announced limited access due to the coronavirus.

dance team

MSHSL settlement allows boys to join competitive dance teams

Dance team state tournaments were first held in 1975.

high school football

MSHSL reveals which sports can and can't resume this fall

The decisions affected football, volleyball, soccer, tennis, cross-country, soccer and swimming/diving.

high school basketball

New guidelines for fan attendance at indoor high school sporting events

It's good news for parents who were worried they couldn't watch their children's games in-person.

Section realignment brings changes to MN high school sports

These are some of the changes made to sections for next year.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL board to discuss winter sports, football and volleyball playoffs

The board will meet Thursday with more hugely popular items on the agenda.

Awful weather is killing spring high school sports in Minnesota

MSHSL approved shorter doubleheaders for baseball and softball.