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.
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.
$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.
‘We consider this a first victory’: Penn professors see university gift as important step for funding Philadelphia schools | Chalkbeat Philadelphia
Members of Penn for PILOTS still argue that local wealthy property owners, like Penn, should be pressed to ensure the city’s schools are fully funded through recurring PILOTS.
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 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.
In a press release, Philadelphia Jobs With Justice — an advocacy group made up of labor unions and student, community and faith groups — commended Penn for the contribution but said that chronic underfunding of Philadelphia’s public schools can’t be solved with one-time gifts. It also specifically called upon other private nonprofit universities in the city to do more.
The University of Pennsylvania has pledged to donate $100 million over the next 10 years to the School District of Philadelphia, the university and local officials announced Tuesday.
The contribution follows criticism that the university was not paying its fair share to the city in property taxes. The millions of dollars to local schools will go a long way toward needed repairs and safety, leaders say.
The University of Pennsylvania announced today that it would donate $100 million to the School District of Philadelphia over 10 years to help pay for the remediation of asbestos and other potentially dangerous conditions in aging school buildings.