Boston Mayor Tom Menino may or may not seek re-election. But if he does, he’ll have a youthful challenger who might be able to make him sweat a bit. At-large city councilor John Connolly kicked off his mayoral campaign today – and made schools his central argument for why Menino needs to go.

“In Boston, we have a top-heavy, overstaffed central bureaucracy that spends over $1 billion annually, but fails to deliver every child arts, music, physical education, humanities and science on a regular basis,” Connolly said.

Today in Brighton, John Connolly made it official: he’s running for mayor of Boston – regardless of incumbent Tom Menino’s plans.

“I deeply respect Mayor Menino, I’ve worked with him, and I’ve learned from him,” Connolly said. “However, this campaign is about Boston’s future.”

Connolly is from a political family: His parents are former Secretary of the Commonwealth Michael Connolly and Judge Lynda Connolly. He grew up in Roslindale, went to Roxbury Latin and Harvard University, then worked as a middle-school teacher before becoming an attorney. Connolly lost his first bid for at large city councilor in 2005 -- but topped the ticket in 2009. Connolly and his wife have two young children -- and today, he made it clear that education will be his major campaign focus.   

“Transforming our schools is not a mission impossible,” Connolly said. “Transforming our schools is a matter of political will and a bold desire to change the status quo.”

Since becoming mayor in 1993, Menino has crushed every challenger. But given the mayor’s recent health woes -- the prospect of a young, aggressive rival may be enough to give him pause.