The Boston mayoral race kicked off today when Boston City Councilor John Connolly announced that he is running for mayor, challenging long-serving Mayor Tom Menino.

After his announcement outside of Brighton High school, Connolly stopped by the WGBH Radio studios and told Jim Braude and Margery Eagan of Boston Public Radio that his campaign will focus on bringing change to the public school system.

“The first thing I’d do around the schools would be to take a fine-toothed comb around the billion dollar budget and get more money to the classroom, lengthen the school day, and get a real student assignment policy that would allow communities to strengthen around schools,” Connolly said.

Connolly also said he’d work hard on retaining students and families that leave Boston because of the high cost of living.

“When we see all those young folks who feed that creative economy and they say, 'I can't afford a loft, I can't afford a place, so I have to leave this city that I came to school to fell in love with.' -- that's a big issue for us,” he said. “And I think we can do a lot more in being creative and being bold and putting new ideas out there to really feed the life of the city, and the middle class becomes the cornerstone of it.”

Connolly is the first major candidate to enter the race. While many in local politics expect Menino to run for a sixth term, he has not publicly indicated if he will do so.