Dec 22, 2020
Interviewer: KATIE RADER. For decades, University of Pennsylvania student activists have demanded that Penn pay PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) to help fund Philadelphia public schools. The movement intensified in 2020, with over 1,100 faculty and staff joining a pro-PILOTs petition. Among them was Social Policy and Practice Professor DENNIS CULHANE, who in September joined a panel discussion on PILOTs sponsored by the Mitchell Center. In his discussion with political scientist Katie Rader, he revisits the topic in the wake of Penn’s donation of $100-million over ten years for environmental remediation of Philadelphia schools. He addresses whether this amount is the fair share that PILOTs activists have demanded, but also whether unilateral, voluntary donations are a path to true equity. He suggests that the Pennsylvania legislature make revisions to the state’s tax code to ensure a more reliable source of funds for public education.