Why does Philadelphia need an Education Equity Fund?
PILOTs aren’t taxes–they’re voluntary payments. There’s no requirement for where the funds are directed. This means that it’s up to us to make sure that when our city’s wealthiest institutions pay their fair share, that money directly meets the needs of our students, not the priorities of outside institutions.
In other cities, mega-nonprofits have tried to “dictate what their money goes toward.” Here in Philly, we know what it looks like when mega-nonprofits call the shots. In our May 5th Speak Out, we heard from Philadelphians who have been directly impacted by our School District’s funding crisis. Nonprofit-driven initiatives never make up for a lack of basic necessities–teachers, textbooks, nurses, counselors, libraries, and safe and healthy school buildings.
As we fight for a more equitably funded public education system in Philadelphia, the last thing we need is a closed-door deal that gives the wealthiest institutions total control over funding for our schools.
Philadelphia needs a PILOT agreement that meets the most essential needs of our most vulnerable public school students. This means that we need Mayor Kenney to establish an Education Equity Fund for our city’s mega-nonprofits to pay into via PILOTs. A publicly administered fund that directly serves the School District will be the best way to establish accountability and transparency for a stable, sustainable PILOT agreement.