Principals’ Union Backs Thompson for Mayor

NEW YORK -

The union representing New York City school principals is backing former city comptroller William Thompson Jr. for mayor, setting in motion a possible endorsement Wednesday from the powerful United Federation of Teachers.

President Ernest Logan of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators said Tuesday that the union’s 16,000 members will do all they can to elect Thompson, Politicker reported. Both unions have clashed with Mayor Michael Bloomberg over issues including school closings and teacher and principal evaluations.

Bloomberg derided at a press conference Monday an endorsement by the president of the teachers’ union, Michael Mulgrew, as “almost the kiss of death.”

“I don’t know what goes through voters’ minds,” he said, “but maybe they understand if the UFT wants it, it ain’t good and you don’t want that person.”

Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, who as vice president of Agudath Israel fought many battles to preserve and add to public funding of private schools, said that the teachers’ union has been on the opposing side in all battles for improved equality in funding yeshivos.

“Traditionally,” Rabbi Lefkowitz said, “the union has been opposed to any benefits that we could get, even those that are obviously constitutional.”

He added that their endorsement, which will probably go to either Thompson or Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, usually comes along with a promise to protect public schools by eliminating and blocking funding for private schools.

Asked if the UFT’s backing will tip the scales for any candidate, Bloomberg said, “I don’t know that you have to worry about that.”

Neither union made an endorsement in the 2009 mayoral race, when Thompson, a former president of the Board of Education, ran a losing campaign against Bloomberg. In 2005, the principals’ union endorsed the losing Democratic candidate, Fernando Ferrer.

Mulgrew shot back at Bloomberg in a continuing war of words that has reached a pitch in recent months.

“Dozens of candidates in local and citywide elections have won with UFT backing in recent years, and many are seeking it this year, while running away from Bloomberg and his record,” Mulgrew said. “Right now most candidates would rather be the victim of a zombie attack than get a Michael Bloomberg endorsement.”