Thursday, August 13, 2009
Communities in the Boston area have been pushing local nonprofits, especially private schools, for increases in the amounts the nonprofits contribute as payments in lieu of taxes. An article in today's Boston Globe details changes for a number of schools and the efforts of local officials to encourage larger payments. The discussions are difficult because even wealthy prep schools have seen their endowments drop while the scholarship needs of their students increase. Even so, the article reports increases agreed to by several schools, including an increase for the Groton School from $31,000 to $100,000. Two schools in Southborough, St. Mark's and Fay's School have both increased their contributions, in part to help the town pay for a new fire engine. St. Mark's increased its annual contribution from $15,000 to $20,000 in 2006 and now has added another $10,000 for ten years, to help pay for the ladder truck. Fay's school increased it's contribution from $5,000 to $10,000 for ten years, but the city's Selectmen are hoping for more. The board chair says the Selectmen have asked the school to "reassess its position and consider giving something more equitable." PILOTs are now an accepted fact in these communities, but figuring out what amount is fair remains difficult.