The Alpine School District has barred the Utah Pageant of the Arts from American Fork High School, the site of the annual event, because pageant representatives have not paid rent for last year's show.
Pageant director David Brockbank asked the school board Tuesday to allow pageant organizers to begin moving into the high school this week, in spite of the $8,400 delinquent bill.Board members turned him down, saying that must be paid and a deal to pay rent for 1988 agreed on before the pageant can go forward.
Brockbank said the pageant is broke and has no hope of generating revenue until the event begins this summer. "We have no funds. We have to have our show to pay for anything."
The show may be in jeopardy if preparations don't begin soon, but some board members were adamant about the lockout. Richard Gappmayer said pageant organizers ask the district for one favor after another.
"The history of the Pageant of the Arts with the Alpine School District is we've bent over backwards to help them make a go of it," he said. "In 1989, are we going to be sitting here (discussing the same problem)? We cannot go on doing this. If you can't pay '87, how are you going to pay '88?"
Brockbank, stressing the need for organizers to get started on the show, said he wants to negotiate with the district after pageant officials have moved into the high school.
But Superintendent Clark Cox said district officials have sent numerous letters to pageant representatives, seeking payment for last year's rent, with no response. Pageant officials didn't request a meeting with the district until Tuesday morning.
That is why board President Jan Lewis said she wants the bill taken care of now.
"This is frustrating, because I really think this needs to be resolved before you move in. This has dragged on a long time, and I think the letters (requesting payment) were clear," Lewis told Brockbank. "We do support the pageant, but we have to resolve this."
Cox said the district began sending those letters last June, when Alpine officials suggested the pageant pay the rent in three payments, so organizers could get the money from ticket sales at the end of the summer. The payments were not made, and no one from the pageant contacted Alpine.
Another letter went out in November 1987, when pageant officials were told the high school would not be available to them until the rent was paid. The last letter was sent in April, but there was no response until a board member was contacted last week.
Brockbank said pageant officials ignored Alpine's requests for payment because they thought American Fork City was negotiating with the district to provide services like snow removal in exchange for a reduction of the rental charge. Cox said that was not happening, and city services could not compensate for the entire $8,400 bill.
The pageant has taken place at American Fork High School for more than 10 years, but the district didn't begin charging rent until last year, because pageant organizers were upgrading the school's stage facilities. But with a tight district budget, the agreement, which was never formalized in a contract, was altered to include rent.