Activists question whether wealthy universities should be exempt from property taxes | 12/18/2020

Activists question whether wealthy universities should be exempt from property taxes | The Hechinger Report

Philadelphia Jobs With Justice, a pro-labor nonprofit, has been campaigning for this for years. “This victory is a testament to the strength of the movement by public school teachers, parents and students for equitable funding for their schools,” said Devan Spear, the executive director of Philadelphia Jobs With Justice, in a press release. “It is also not the end of this fight. The immense wealth inequality and chronic public-school underfunding in our city requires a fundamental transformation in the way that wealthy institutions relate [to] surrounding communities.”

Penn’s $100 million to Philly schools is no permanent solution for PILOTs | 11/30/2020

Penn’s $100 million to Philly schools is no permanent solution for PILOTs | Philadelphia Inquirer

This news allows us to continue and deepen our conversations about PILOTs, not end them. People across the city are newly conscious of the way racism and inequality are built into what it means to live in Philadelphia. With our elected officials and our teachers, we should redouble efforts to ensure that well before 10 more years have passed, Philadelphia’s children have access to fully funded public education.

Penn’s $100 million pledge has a backstory | 11/24/2020

Penn’s $100 million pledge has a backstory | WHYY

Christmas came early this year for the Philadelphia School District. The University of Pennsylvania pledged $100 million to go toward fixing unsafe school buildings. Activist leaders on campus and across the city have called for a donation like this for a long time. They want Penn to pay payments in lieu of taxes, known as PILOTs, calling foul on the regulations that allow a nonprofit that owns $3.2 billion in city real estate to skip property taxes.

Editorial | The $100 million donation doesn’t excuse Penn from paying PILOTs | 11/22/2020

The $100 million donation doesn’t excuse Penn from paying PILOTs | The Daily Pennsylvanian

$100 million is nothing to sniff at. By 2022, the School District of Philadelphia will be $700 million in debt. The COVID-19 crisis has not made these numbers any prettier. Penn’s donation will do a world of good in making sure that West Philly kids have access to safe and healthy learning environments and will help the school district to not go into further debt. Undoubtedly, Penn’s donation is a step in the right direction. But it is just that: a step. In light of this donation, we renew our call for the University to pay Payments In Lieu Of Taxes, or PILOTS.

Students, experts greet Penn’s $100 million donation, but renew push for U. to pay PILOTs | 11/19/2020

Students, experts greet Penn’s $100 million donation, but renew push for U. to pay PILOTs | The Daily Pennsylvanian

Following years of backlash for its refusal to make Payment in Lieu of Taxes, Penn has decided to contribute $100 million to the School District of Philadelphia. Yet, students and professors say the contribution is not a PILOT, criticizing its short-term commitment as well as Penn’s framing of it as a gift rather than a debt owed to the city.

Penn’s pittance is useful, overdue, and vastly insufficient | 11/18/2020

Penn’s pittance is useful, overdue, and vastly insufficient | Nonprofit Quarterly

Penn is heralding the $100 million gift, which is targeted for facility improvements, as the largest it has ever made to the schools. Looking at the payment as charity, that might be seen as sufficient. But advocates have been pushing for 40 percent of what the university would pay in property taxes each year were it to pay taxes, and that would currently amount to $40 million a year.