New York

Thompson hits Bloomberg on schools, citing "mismanagement"

Comptroller William Thompson Jr. with Randi Weingarten (via Flickr) Could we be seeing the start of a campaign theme? William Thompson Jr., the city's comptroller and a likely mayoral candidate, today attacked the Department of Education for transportation policies that he said are marred by "confusion and mismanagement." In a letter to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, he called on the department to launch an immediate review of its transportation policies. The attack was a response to a Daily News report that a 3-year-old autistic boy had been left alone on a school bus for more than six hours. But it might foreshadow a longer argument to come establishing Thompson's education credentials against Mayor Bloomberg. Thompson is certainly not the first person to criticize the Department of Education for "confusion and mismanagement," and one of the groups that often sounds that theme, the teachers union, is close to Thompson. The comptroller himself has privately directed similar complaints on the "mismanagement" theme toward non-transportation-related DOE policies. In transcripts of his private testimony to a commission on school governance that I obtained, Thompson complained that he has difficulty tracking the education department's spending. "If you look at the lack of financial and fiscal transparency at the Department of Education, it is astonishing," Mr. Thompson said. In short, if Thompson is looking for an education argument against another likely mayoral candidate, Mayor Bloomberg, he might have found one. The press release summarizing Thompson's complaints about the busing problem is after the jump.