Facing ongoing budget difficulties, the Lucia Mar school district board this week approved a plan to turn over management of its local performing arts center for a year.
Since the Clark Center was constructed in 2001, the South County district has operated the theater with district-hired management, with support from the Clark Center Association and nonprofit Clark Center Foundation. The school district also owns the building and its grounds.
The school board on Tuesday moved ahead with transitioning some of its duties to the Clark Center Association for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which starts July 1.
The foundation formed the separate association in 2001 to assist with some of the Clark Center’s operations, including marketing and running the box office, concessions, ushers, and parking. The school district has historically handled the contracts and provided technical support, said association Executive Director Connie O’Henley.
The association is now working on a plan to restructure and consolidate the various duties under the nonprofit organization.
“It wasn’t something we sought to take over,” O’Henley said. “They (district administrators) asked us if we’d help out. We’re trying to make sure that it makes sense for us from a financial and management standpoint.”
It’s unknown how much money the change will save the school district next year. District administrators are working with the association on a contract that will be brought back to the school board in August.
The school board also voted earlier this year to eliminate the Clark Center’s theater manager position to recoup about $78,000. Barry Hamlin was hired by the district about 10 years ago; his job will be cut as of June 30.
Last year, the district board cut his employment to 10.5 months from 12 months, saving nearly $9,000 in salary and benefits.
O’Henley said association leaders are still working on a staffing plan for the new arraignment proposed by the district. The association has five permanent employees and an on-call technical crew.