- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska chapter of the Girl Scouts of the United States has sued the national organization, claiming it improperly increased annual dues for children and adult members.

A spokesman for Girl Scouts of the USA said Tuesday the lawsuit is without merit.

The Fairbanks-based Farthest North Girl Scout Council, with about 800 girls and 400 adults, says annual dues paid to the national organization for each girl and adult rose from $12 to $15 in 2014. That will increase to $25 in 2018.

The fee increase was significant, said executive director Suellen Nelles, but the lawsuit also says it was done in violation of bylaws.

“It is over the way they went about it,” Nelles said of the lawsuit. “That’s the gist of it.”

The 30-member Girl Scout USA Board does not have authority to raise dues, according to the lawsuit. Fee increases must be approved larger National Council, which convenes every three years.

The lawsuit was filed Feb. 14 in state and federal courts.

Girl Scouts of the USA spokesman Michael Lopes said the organization cannot comment on pending litigation but is confident the claim is without merit.

Recent dues increases, he said in an email response to questions, are well in line with similar extra-curricular activities for youth.

“The dues increase aligns the cost of joining Girl Scouts with the value of our programming,” he said. “As a youth-serving organization, Girl Scouts is keeping pace with the marketplace, and returning a tremendous value to girls.”

For comparison, he said, dance classes can cost from $40 to $160 per month.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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