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Mayoral candidates help launch citywide school policy bus tour

A coalition hoping to rid the city of Mayor Bloomberg’s favored education policies launched an ambitious voter registration drive today — with the help of the four Democrats vying to become the next mayor.

The splashy tour — which will make more than two dozen stops across all five boroughs in a week’s time — kicked off this morning near City Hall. Standing against the backdrop of a teal-painted school bus that has been retrofitted on the inside to display policy information, the candidates delivered short stump speeches that stuck closely to the positions they have set out before.

The coalition, A+NYC, is made up of more than 45 community groups, many of which are also members of an anti-Bloomberg coalition, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, that is funded by labor unions.

Since coming onto the scene in August, A+NYC has launched a website stocked with education research summaries and held more than 70 meetings and workshops with dozens of student, parent, teacher and community organizations. Hoping to glean some kind of consensus from such a broad set of stakeholders, organizers tracked which issues were raised most often. Better school facilities, updated technology, and less crowding were mentioned almost the most often — a total of 236 times during 57 of the meetings, according to the coalition’s analysis.

Eventually, A+NYC organizers said they would come out with a detailed platform and endorse specific policies. For now, they said, the bus tour would help further shape their agenda. Volunteers painted the bus its unusual shade, and the coalition hired an engineer to design an interior with wall units that display information about the broad education talking points that the coalition is advancing. Organizers said they spent $2,800 dollars to rent the bus and pay the driver for the week.

The tour will make about four stops a day, including at churches, community events, and schools — for the morning bell and afternoon dismissal.

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