WORTHINGTON — Before deciding whether to pay its member dues to the Minnesota State High School League, the District 518 school board would like some justification for why the league's dues are 300% higher this year.

Each member school district in the state pays into MSHSL every year in order to take advantage of the league's programs and activities. However, districts around the state were surprised this year when MSHSL raised its dues by about threefold, seemingly without explanation.

At first, the school board had thought that the district should pay the dues without hesitation, since students deserve to have access to MSHSL's programming. However, now board members are leaning toward waiting to pay until MSHSL can provide reasonable justification for raising its dues so steeply, the school board instructional committee discussed Monday.

Before making a final decision, the full board must weigh the delay at its regular meeting next week.

The instructional committee also heard a updated enrollment numbers in the district.

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Across the district, enrollment is down from last year, with 3,241 total students compared with 3,409 in 2019-2020. Prairie Elementary, Worthington Middle School and Worthington High School all saw drops in enrollment, while the Area Learning Center saw an increase in students.

Fewer students in the district means a decrease in funding from the state.

In the operations committee, members heard a presentation from Jason Turner about how the baseball field could host more activities. The full board will discuss the idea next Tuesday.