NEW YORK — Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg is campaigning for re-election as an “education mayor,” but many say the current state of city schools — overcrowded, in disrepair, with abysmal graduation rates — proves him to be the opposite.

“Bloomberg likes to cherry-pick statistics such as test scores … and neglect the fact that overall, graduation rates are still a disaster,” Christy Setzer, a spokesperson for the Fernando Ferrer (D) mayoral campaign, told the World. “Less than half of all students graduate on time. And it’s even fewer for African American and Latino students.”

The Working Families Party (WFP) said 82,787 children in kindergarten to third grade alone are in overcrowded classes and added, “students who are assigned to smaller classes in grades K-3 do better in every way that can be measured.”

The WFP, which endorsed Ferrer, has been pushing to keep New York City’s Millionaire Tax — which Bloomberg opposes — in place and to put its proceeds towards education. The tax takes 0.77 percent of taxable income from those earning more than $500,000 per year.

In a case brought by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), the state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that to be up to standard, NYC schools must receive an additional $5.63 billion in operating expenses annually, to be phased in over four years.

“Bloomberg has not lifted a finger. Freddy is the only candidate … who actually came up with a plan to get the CFE money … billions of dollars the schools could desperately use,” Setzer said. Ferrer advocates a half-cent tax on stock transfers done in New York City, which would raise billions of dollars.

Elementary school psychologist Maria Ortiz said Bloomberg’s reforms — centralizing the schools under his control through Chancellor Joel Klein and pushing for privatization of janitors and other school workers — amounted to treating the schools like profit-driven corporations, not institutions of learning.

At press time, the Mayor and the United Federation of Teachers had settled a contract after nearly three years. Ortiz had predicted beforehand that Bloomberg might settle the labor dispute in an effort to gain credibility. “Whatever he does,” she said, “we can’t forget the past three years.”

At a recent UFT delegate assembly strong support for Ferrer was evident. While an endorsement is a big question, insiders say that a large segment of UFT’s members considers Ferrer the education candidate.

Bloomberg “failed to negotiate a contract before it became a campaign issue, disrespecting teachers,” Setzer said. “Now he’s facing a re-election battle and he finally does what he should have done three years ago.”