If mayoral control does expire, who is in charge of the city school system? NY1 Education Reporter Lindsey Christ explains what might happen.

There are doomsday predictions and talk of the bad old days if the mayor does not keep control of the city schools.

"The system was mired in chaos and corruption," Mayor Bill de Blasio said June 8.

Often-opposing interests — Wall Street CEOs, labor unions leaders, and aides to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg — agree that the old way of running the schools is a bad idea.

The city will automatically revert to that system July 1, absent legislative action. 

"The old board of education is reappointed that day and has to make a decision on the chancellor that day. There is no majority held by anyone," de Blasio said Wednesday, explaining the July 1 scenario.

The board of education had seven members; the mayor selected two, and each borough president had an appointee.

One problem, though: no one person was accountable for the performance of the school system.

"Everyone needs a boss — everyone needs one boss, not five bosses, not one hundred boss — but one boss," Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said recently.

Another drawback: the old system was rife with infighting and inefficiencies. There were also 32 local school boards. Some worked well, others were mired in corruption, and some barely functioned at all.

The mayor has run the schools since 2002, except for a few weeks in 2009 when Albany briefly failed to renew mayoral control.

That's serving as a template for what could happen now. The school board was temporarily resurrected, but the borough presidents' appointees bowed to Mayor Bloomberg by reappointing his chancellor.

"This is the continuation of mayoral control," then-Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said in 2009.

By August, Albany had reinstated the mayor's powers. But a former school official says the brief upheaval hurt the system.

"It was a tremendous distraction, extremely confusing, about what was going to happen and how decisions were going to be made," former Deputy Schools Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky said. "And it had a real impact on schools for months."

Today's borough presidents all say they support mayoral control, but none have promised to continue the status quo if the board returns.

"I'm sure that we all have capable individuals that we will be appointing should there be a board of education," Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. said.

And unlike the lapse in 2009, it's unclear if Albany would quickly restore mayoral control before the school year begins. 

"So, here's the problem: when you open up Pandora's Box, you don't know what happens next," de Blasio says.