This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Council to Study PILOTs

One topic of conversation during the Override debate was the large amount of property in Beverly that is owned by non-profits, and therefore by law not subject to city real estate taxes. Endicott College, particularly, owns hundreds of acres of prime real estate, on which it pays no taxes.

Both sides of the override debate brought up and support PILOTs (payments-in-lieu of taxes), which are voluntary payments to the city by non-profits.

City Councilor Judith Cronin says it’s time to develop a plan to collect payments from tax-exempt property owners, and wants a committee formed by the end of the month to begin to examine PILOTs and SILOTs (services–in-lieu of taxes).

Tax-exempt properties in Beverly have a total value of $415 million, Cronin said, which is 6 percent of the total value of all non city-owned land and buildings.

She said she decided to bring forward the proposal after seeing the interest and enthusiasm for it during the override debate, and said that the idea had been “allowed to languish without adequate resolution” since a committee last took on the issue in 2003.

Mayor Scanlon spoke last week of of an agreement under which Endicott College will donate $110,000 per year to the city over the next three years. The college will also continue to donate $40,000 per year to the schools, and has agreed to pay real estate taxes on a recently acquired property on Hale Street.

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