24+ school closures. No textbooks. No guidance counselors.
We’ve created a veritable school-to-prison pipeline. And it’s Philadelphia’s public school students that are getting attacked.
Philly parents, students, and teachers have been organizing to restore the right to a free and quality public education. There are many pieces to this puzzle, and every part needs to be in place to fix this broken system.
That’s why we, as Penn students, are joining the fight for Philly schools, by holding our own school accountable.
Penn is actively lobbying the City to avoid Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs), payments to the city to make up for the property taxes that Penn doesn’t contribute due to its nonprofit status. Penn owns the most land of any urban university in the US, and its refusal to pay PILOTs deprives the City of a huge chunk of money that would otherwise go directly towards schools and other essential services.
As students, we demand that Penn pay $6.6 million in PILOTs.
This amount is comparable to what peer institutions pay — Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Brown have already joined the PILOTs program in their respective cities. Furthermore, this amount is entirely within Penn’s capacity— it amounts to only 0.1% of Penn’s annual operating budget.
It’s because we've tutored and mentored in Philly schools that we know that we have a part to play in this fight. Penn students know that denying Philadelphia’s children anything less than their fair share of this city’s wealth is systematic violence.
The fight against systemic disinvestment in black and brown communities necessitates that Penn, the largest mega nonprofit and a hugely influential force in the city, join the PILOTs program.
We refuse to allow our education to be bankrolled on systemic racism and economic bullying.
It's time for the "Civic Ivy" to side with Philly students.
It’s time for PILOTs.