Penn students tell the university to pay up for Philly schools
A group of students at the University of Pennsylvania are calling for their school to pay up to the cash-strapped Philadelphia School District.
This week, the Student Labor Action Project appealed to the university’s president, Amy Gutmann, for Penn to pay 0.1 percent of its yearly budget to the city’s public schools, a payment that would amount to more than $6 million. Students argued that because the ever-growing campus doesn’t pay property taxes, it should contribute funds to the city’s schools.
The Payment in Lieu of Taxes program (PILOT) doesn’t just apply to Penn. Institutions of higher learning around the country are exempt from paying property tax, and are often neighbors of low-income school districts without a sufficient local tax base. Most Ivy Leagues have joined the PILOT program — except Penn and Columbia.
“Despite owning more than $3 billion in land, Penn pays barely anything in taxes that would support Philly schools,” students wrote on SLAP’s Facebook page. “It's time for that to change.”