Mayoral hopefuls to be quizzed on failing schools at forum tonight

Believe it or not, there are just four months before the city’s mayoral election, and tonight the three declared candidates will take questions from a group whose endorsement is still outstanding.

Tonight’s Working Families Party forum isn’t a debate, per Mayor Bloomberg’s refusal to debate his two challengers, Democrats William Thompson Jr., the comptroller, and City Councilman Tony Avella. Instead, the candidates will each answer the same seven questions, of which one is about the city schools:

The question alludes to the recent Center for New York City Affairs report that showed that some large high schools suffered as the city opened more small schools.

The Working Families Party hasn’t yet endorsed a candidate, which Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News says doesn’t bode well for Thompson. (The teachers’ union is a major financial backer of WFP; in a recent gift, the union sent $20,000 to the party in February 2008.) Tonight’s forum could be a deciding factor in whom the party endorses. Watch the forum online here starting at 5:30 p.m.