Alpine School District administrators say representatives of the Utah Pageant of the Arts have reneged on a financial commitment to the district, leaving taxpayers to support a private project.
Pageant officials have not paid the district rent for last summer's use of American Fork High School, the site of the annual event, and administrators are particularly disturbed because the pageant was permitted to use district facilities only on the condition that representatives pay the money they owed promptly.Superintendent Steven Baugh said the agreement was that pageant officials would pay the district rent as soon as they received ticket proceeds, but no money has been paid and Alpine administrators have had no word from the pageant about when the money will be sent.
"We would hope that they would pay us the money that we're due," Baugh said. "The board just feels like that's a very reasonable and understandable point of view. The Pageant of the Arts is a wonderful program. I do believe, though, that the citizens of the Alpine School District cannot continue to subsidize this community effort. They pay most of their other bills and I think they owe us the money."
Alpine will not allow the pageant to use the high school for its 1989 program unless the approximately $10,000 past due is fully paid and the 1989 rent is guaranteed by American Fork City, Baugh said.
Pageant board member Don Hampton said representatives if his organization were not aware Alpine had a problem with the financial arrangement.
"We're in the process now of structuring the budget so we can work out a payment process for them. I would have to meet with them again and find out what their concerns are," he said. "I feel like making payments will be consistent with our discussions with them."
Hampton declined to comment further about why the money has not been paid or when it will be.
The school board voted last May not to allow the pageant to use the high school for its 1988 program, because it had not, at the time, paid its 1987 bill. But the pageant director at the time, David Brockbank, subsequently persuaded the board to allow the group to use the building provided it paid what it owed for 1987 and 1988.
Board member Richard Gappmayer opposed that decision, and said at the time, "The history of the Pageant of the Arts with the Alpine School District is that we've bent over backward to help them make a go of it. In 1989, are we going to be sitting here (discussing the same problem)? If you can't pay '87, how are you going to pay '88?"
Baugh said the district will not compromise this year.
"We feel like we've told them our position, and we're waiting to hear from them."
Lewis agrees. "(The pageant) is struggling to reorganize. I want them to be successful, too. We're certainly not trying to hurt their organization, but we basically still want them to keep their commitment. It's important as public agencies that we try to honor all of those commitments that we can. I think that's one reason we have to take a stand, because there has been a pattern established that we want to stop."