NBC10.com - Daralene Jones
After the Philadelphia Teachers' Union released two ads criticizing his handling of the school budget crisis, Mayor Nutter fired back in a series of videos of his own. NBC10's Daralene Jones has the details.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says his record is being distorted by the recent ads released by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. So he's taking a swing back at the union with his own series of ads released today.
"The PFT leadership is running false ads, distorting my record on education funding and my support for our children," said Mayor Nutter, in one of five videos posted to YouTube. "They failed to tell you that as mayor, I've increased education funding by $155 million annually, while the state has cut funding by $140 million."
Mayor Nutter then laid out everything he's proposed to help fund the schools-- including a sweet drink tax that would have brought in an estimated $77 million, a liquor-by-drink tax that would have brought in an estimated $22 million and $94 million from an adjustment in property values in the city.
None of these measures became law and Mayor Nutter says the PFT failed to throw their support behind these proposals.
"They failed to tell you these things because their leadership has not actively supported one of these efforts in city council or in Harrisburg. They've been absent on supporting education funding increases for years. Well, they get an "F" in telling the truth," said Nutter.
In a statement released today, PFT President Jerry Jordan fired back at the mayor's accusations.
"It is the job of our elected officials, not educators, to create budgets, pass laws and develop legislation designed to properly fund our schools," said Jordan. "We are happy to see the mayor demonstrate a new found zeal to pressure Harrisburg for additional education funding. We hope in the future he'll fight alongside Philadelphia's teachers and school employees rather than fighting against us."
The PFT released another ad campaign today, but the union says they decided to pull the campaign.
NBC10'S Daralene Jones caught up with Mayor Nutter to ask him if this back-and-forth fighting is a distraction from the real issue at hand.
"There is no question that the schools need more funding and I'm prepared to fight that fight. And as I said earlier, all of us have a role to play. I think it's unfortunate that this started a couple weeks ago with false information out there, " said Nutter.
The first day of school in Philadelphia is Monday, September 9 and the PFT continues negotiations to come up with contracts for its 15,000 members.