Philadelphia, PA – City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) today release the following statement in the response to the University of Pennsylvania’s pledge to contribute $100 million to the School District of Philadelphia — $10 million annually for 10 years — to be used to remediate environmental hazards, including asbestos and lead, in public school buildings:
The University of Pennsylvania should be commended for its decision to contribute $100 million over the next decade to the School District of Philadelphia to help the district remediate serious environmental health hazards in our schools.
No child, no teacher, and no support staff should ever have their health jeopardized when they come to school. Every district school must be safe, and environmental hazards such as asbestos and lead must be removed — permanently.
As welcome as the contribution from Penn is, it will not solve the infrastructure problems in Philadelphia’s schools by itself. The district has literally billions of dollars in unmet capital needs. Much more is needed.
For years, City Council has advocated that our major not-for-profit institutions in Philadelphia – academic, health care and other non-profits – make payments in lieu of taxes, since non-profits do not pay city property taxes. Non-profits must pay their fair share, just as every other property owner does.
There are other non-profit institutions in Philadelphia that must take heed of what Penn has announced today, and do their own part by making sizable contributions to the School District, to contribute to our shared mission of having school buildings that are clean, modern, safe places for our children to receive a quality public education.
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