BPS Students Call on Northeastern to be a Pilot Program Leader:Students and Allies Ask University to Pay City Property Tax Assessment to Fund Schools

Over 100 elementary, middle and high school students went on a field trip to see what a state-of-the-art library looks like and ask Northeastern to join us in fighting for excellent schools for all. Northeastern supports the community in so many ways, and we are asked them to be our partners in taking their leadership in neighborhood collaboration to the next level in order to increase justice and equity for the young people of Boston. Northeastern, with an endowment of almost $800 million, is one of the city’s wealthiest institutions. As a nonprofit, it is exempt from paying property taxes, which is the main way Boston funds public schools. Ekran Sharif, 18, a Boston high school student, said “My school is basically on Northeastern’s campus and we can see new buildings going up all the time. Northeastern is a school too, they should care about Boston Public High Schools having enough money to educate their students well enough to attend Northeastern someday, but we don’t even have a cafeteria. We are calling on them to do the right thing by paying their full PILOT tax.”

According to the PILOT Action Group, “The current Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program, beginning in 2012, covers 49 large nonprofit institutions with assessed property value of over $15 Million. Nonprofits are expected to pay 25 percent of their potential property taxes based on their 2010 tax assessment. Institutions can and do offset 50 percent of their payment with a “community benefit” that is supposed to target residents of the city. However, over $77 MILLION of the requested PILOT contributions have been left unpaid, primarily by four universities: Northeastern, Boston College, Harvard, and Boston University.” Northeastern just finished construction of a new $225 million science and engineering complex, while still finishing FY2017 with a surplus of over $66 million.

Upon hearing that Northeastern is only being asked to pay 25 percent of its 2010 assessment, Dacia Morales, parent of a BPS elementary school student, said “How can they say they care about justice and education if they won’t even pay that tiny amount of what they could owe the City of Boston?” To date, Northeastern has paid only 29 percent of its requested PILOT taxes, meaning $17.4 million  that could have gone to public education, healthcare, or affordable housing, instead stayed in Northeastern’s coffers.

WHAT: Students making art and having fun at Northeastern’s state-of-the-art campus.

WHO: Students, Parents, Teachers and Community Members in support of BPS students and full funding for public education in Massachusetts, in particular the PILOT Program.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 4-5:15 p.m.

WHERE: Krentzman Quadrangle, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115

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