top of page
  • savethesmcivic

Civic Update: This is Unbelievable

Dear friends of the Civic,

Ever since we began our mission to stop the City from selling off our beloved, historic Civic Auditorium we have found ourselves submerged in the world of the Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District, which by law is the only entity whose offer our City Council can currently entertain. (Should the Council reject the District’s proposal, it can then field other offers.)

One of the District’s main selling points to the community has been that it will pay for the Civic’s operating costs by renting it out up to one hundred days a year. From the beginning, we thought that wasn’t a good idea. The School District is in the education business, not the venue rental business. It simply does not have the experience or resources to properly manage a property of this scale.

Now we have proof.

We’ve just discovered that the District is surprisingly not good at the venue rental business. How not good? It lost money renting out school facilities last year. That’s right, the School District LOST MONEY renting out Barnum Hall and other venues. How do we know? Because this week it asked the School Board to authorize $438,502 in unrestricted funds to pay for those losses! Read its request here.

We’re sure that $438,502 could have been better spent on other school needs, but how the District allocates money is not our issue.

What IS our issue is that clearly the School District should not be in the Civic rental business. And by the way, who do you think is going to bail it out if it fails at that endeavor? Us!

Instead, the City should partner with an experienced group that can run the Civic as a concert and performing arts center; a group that knows how to do it, and importantly in the event of failure will not use precious school funds to bail it out. We have found such a group. And if we’ve found one, we know the City can find others.

But first our City Council must reject the School District’s proposal.

Let’s restore the Civic as a world-class venue for music and the arts. And let’s keep the School District focused on education, not venue rentals.

For more information, and to register so we can contact you when we need people to reach out to City Council, please visit our website at:


bottom of page