Now that de Blasio has backed off so much of the resistance to ed deform he promised, there is more willingness to give him this extension. But he is still hated by the deformers. Lots of people are thinking he is a one-term mayor - imagine Eva in charge - deformers would extent that for life.
Some of our allies (our friends in Chicago and some here pushing a "People's Board") have seized upon school board elections as the alternative to handing total control over to a mayor/czar. I'm not so sure it is worth investing resources into citywide school board elections that turn into battlegrounds between charter/privatization interests loaded with bucks and the teacher unions have to put their precious resources into countering them - see the Ravitch piece below on the LA elections.
I believe a better solution is to decentralize the system to the greatest possible extent - down to the smallest community built on 1 neighborhood HS, a few middle schools and the elementary schools that feed them-- roughly a 15 unit cluster in terms of governance and basic decision making, especially on the hiring of principals. The deformers want to destroy the neighborhood school concept so as to break fealty to that idea and the local public schools so they can take over these institutions. Even the old k-8 32 district community control system, with all its bosses and corruption issues, would never have allowed Eva and other charters into the door. So the destruction of that system - and the use of negative propaganda to assist -- was an essential first step in the privatization scheme. Even if there were bosses and dictators, at least they were confined to small areas - and more centralized oversight would address those issues. I still think those basic district political units are still useful - and they still exist.
Though anti-deformers have been holding their own in races around the nation, we should question if that is the model we want to push. Even an elected school board is still central control. As Diane points out, the turn-out is low because the local communities don't have a stake -- just like UFT election turnout is low because most people don't have a stake. I realize the turnout for our old local school board elections was also very low -- but there were some extenuating reasons. I say, let's look at what was right and wrong with the pre-Bloomberg system and fix it.