The School District of Philadelphia is grappling with a $304 million budget shortfall, a problem severe enough that Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. laid off nearly 4,000 employees this summer.
The city and the state, asked by the School District to provide $180 million, put together a complicated relief package that could add up to about $140 million.
Teachers are being asked to take a pay cut, work longer hours, and pay into their health-insurance coverage. They pay nothing for that coverage now. The district also wants principals to have the right to select staff.
Talks are continuing with the 15,000-member PFT. The current contract expires Aug. 31, but Philadelphia teachers are barred from striking.
Two weeks ago, Nutter said the teachers were "essentially the only adults at the table who so far have yet to financially contribute to a solution for this crisis."
"It is time for the PFT to step up," he said.
The state's bailout package also includes $45 million for the schools that won't be released until the PFT signs a contract with "fiscal savings and academic reforms," Corbett's budget secretary, Charles Zogby, said last week.
A spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers, which issued a news release Wednesday calling attention to the ads, called the public relations campaign "substantial," but would not say how much the ads cost.
The ads feature Kia Hinton, a mother of three public school students and a member of the advocacy group Action United.
"Massive budget cuts starve our kids of the education they deserve," Hinton says in the TV ad. "Mr. Mayor, you have a choice. Invest in our kids' education or keep cozying up to the governor."
Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Nutter, noted that City Council has passed and the mayor has signed property- and business-tax increases to benefit schools.
The mayor also has made several other tax proposals to help fund schools, including a soda tax and raising the liquor-by-the-drink tax, both rejected by Council.
"For them to suggest that Michael Nutter hasn't stepped up for the schoolchildren of Philadelphia is just an utter falsehood," McDonald said.
Contact Troy Graham at 215-854-2730 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @troyjgraham.