Frequently Asked Questions

How did Auburn Public Schools obtain ownership of the theater? Did APS purchase the theater?

Auburn Public Schools did not purchase the theater. The previous owners donated the Auburn State Theater to the school district.

Is taxpayer money used to help run the theater?

No. The Auburn State Theater is self-sufficient. No taxpayer money is used to operate the theater.

Taxes – Since the school owns the theater are they exempt from paying taxes?

When the school took ownership of the theater, APS worked with the Nebraska Department of Education and the Department of Revenue to determine our taxpaying status. It was determined that the manner in which the theater operates does not make it exempt from property and sales tax. The Nebraska Attorney General later reviewed and agreed with this decision. Based on this, the theater pays property and sales tax. As stated above, these payments come from the theater’s revenue and not from the Auburn Public School’s General Fund.

Can a school district legally own and operate a theater?

This was a question that was researched by the Nebraska Attorney General. The Nebraska Attorney General determined that APS could own and operate the theater.

Does the theater have a policy against showing R rated movies?

No. There is no policy in place prohibiting R rated movies. Our goal is to provide a balance between movies that our community wants to see and what we feel is appropriate. There are times that these two interests clash with each other.

As a general rule we do not show movies with explicit sex scenes, graphic nudity, and/or extreme violence. If the movie is critically acclaimed, has been nominated for an Academy Award, or is of some particular interest to our community we may waive this general rule and show the movie. These situations are rare.

Couldn’t the school use the net revenue from the theater to help fund school programs?

While the theater is self-sufficient, it does not generate a significant amount of net revenue at the end of each fiscal year. The additional funds are put back into the theater’s infrastructure and amenities to ensure that the theater continues to provide this service to the community at the lowest cost possible.

Who operates the theater? How are decisions made?

The school district contracts with Carla Mason to manage the theater. Carla makes daily business decisions for the theater. Carla is in constant contact with the school superintendent concerning the operation of the theater. Since the school owns the theater, it does follow the purchasing guidelines listed in Auburn Public School’s policies. Large purchases and other contracts are brought to the board of education for approval.

I am interested in the pre-movie ads. What guidelines govern those ads?

The Auburn State Theater does sell pre-movie ads. As a general rule, ads must not violate the mission and values of Auburn Public Schools. The superintendent reviews all ads before being approved for the theater.