As contract negotiations continue, the Philadelphia Teachers’ Union is set to launch a new radio and television ad targeting both Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett.
The Philadelphia School District is trying to achieve more than $100 million in concessions from the union as it works to close a $304 million deficit. That deficit resulted in nearly 4,000 layoffs of teachers, administrators, secretaries and counselors and the ending of arts programs and extracurricular activities. The teachers have blamed big cuts in state aid for much of the district's financial problems.
Last weekend, the old collective bargaining agreement expired. Since then, both the Philadelphia School District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have tried to negotiate a new contract, but so far to no success.
Philadelphia teachers returned to work on Tuesday, both anxious and frustrated.
“We feel disrespected,” said Amy Kaufman, a Philadelphia teacher. “We work really hard to make sure that children get the best they deserve.”
The new commercial, set to air on radio and television on Wednesday, discusses what teachers are willing to give up in contract negotiations while also calling on the mayor and governor to do more.
“Parents and teachers have offered real sacrifices and real solutions,” says a woman in a voiceover. “But Governor Corbett and Mayor Nutter? They failed to provide the funding Philadelphia schools need.”
The radio version of the ad delves into more detail and questions why contributions to healthcare and a pay freeze aren’t enough for the district. District officials say that’s not enough to save $103 million. They claim a five to 13 percent paycut is needed to rehire more laidoff teachers and assistant principals. District leaders also want reform that allows them to assign teachers regardless of seniority and longer school days.
“I would not be able to pay my bills or to live and feed my family if I was to take such a paycut,” Kaufman said. “And then come in and have to use that money to pay for supplies for my classroom.”
Wednesday’s commercial will mark the second ad criticizing Mayor Nutter. A commercial that debuted in August accuses the mayor of being too friendly with Governor Corbett instead of fighting for the future of the city’s children. Mayor Nutter referred to the ad as a distraction from the real issues. His spokesman, Mark McDonald, called the ad a “distortion of reality."
NBC10 reached out to the Mayor for comment on the latest ad but have not yet heard back from him.
Classes for the city's 190,000 traditional and charter school students are scheduled to begin on Sept. 9.