By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With the teachers union airing ads blasting him, Mayor Nutter is defending his efforts to secure funding for Philadelphia schools.

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The ads have saturated the airwaves recently. They show a Philadelphia mother saying, “Mayor Nutter has stood with Governor Corbett as he gutted funding for Philadelphia’s public schools.”

“You’ve let us down,” the mother says. “You’ve been starving our kids of the education they deserve.”

At a City Hall news conference, the mayor said the PFT ads are designed to draw attention away from the concessions that the union is being pressed to make.

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“It’s part of a planned distraction campaign that gets all of you talking about that and not talking about how we select teachers to be in classrooms, how we bring back folks to fill vacancies, whether or not folks should pay something for their health care,” Mayor Nutter said.

The mayor said his efforts have generated $155 million in new city funding for schools while state funding was reduced. Now, he says the union is being pressed to make $133 million in contract concessions.

“No one’s been able to make an argument that made any sense to me as to why this particular group of employees should pay zero for their health care in an environment, of course, where health care costs are growing.”

The teachers’ contract expires Sunday.

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