‘I am stepping down:’ Michael Bonds resigns from Milwaukee Board of School Directors

MILWAUKEE -- It is another unexpected change to Milwaukee Public Schools' leadership. With less than one year left in his term, longtime Milwaukee Board of School Directors member Michael Bonds has resigned.

Bonds did not give any indication as to why he is stepping down so abruptly, but he did find himself in the hot seat recently during a debate over the district's most recent budget shortfall.

Michael Bonds

In a letter to the board on July 13, Bonds announced that he'd be stepping down immediately.

Below is the letter of resignation from Michael Bonds to the Board of Directors:

"This letter is to inform you that I am stepping down from MPS Board of Directors effective immediately. I would like to thank the voters for giving me the opportunity to serve them. Hopefully, I have made a positive contribution to the district. It is time to face new challenges and opportunities.

MPS will always have a special place in my heart."

While serving District 3, Bonds came under scrutiny in April, telling Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association (MTEA -- the teachers' union) President Amy Mizialko to "go to hell."

The outburst stemmed from growing concern over the district's multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

In a statement, MPS Board President Mark Sain apologized on behalf of the board following the outburst:

"On behalf of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, I apologize for the outburst that happened during the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee meeting.

We can and will disagree with each other. That is good public policy. But it is unacceptable to use inappropriate language and behavior when talking to each other. It will not be tolerated, regardless of the source."

Following Bonds' announcement of resignation, the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association on Tuesday, July 17 posted the following message on Facebook: "This is great news for public education advocates in Milwaukee!"

Amy Mizialko

Mizialko also said in part: "Bonds' resignation gives us hope and MTEA looks forward to working with a real public school champion in this seat."

Meantime, Sain recognized Bonds' "dedication to the community," and thanked him for his service.

Bonds did not return FOX6 News' request for an interview.

School Board member at large, Terry Falk, is stepping in to serve District 3. Meantime, an election for the seat is still scheduled for April 2019.

Below is the statement from Director Mark Sain, president of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, regarding Bonds' resignation: 

"I would like to thank Director Bonds for his 11 years of service to Milwaukee Public Schools, our students and staff, and his constituents. The years he spent representing District 3 on the Board are a sign of his dedication to the community.

Michael Bonds served as President of the Board from 2009 through 2016.

Constituents in District 3 will be served by the Board's at-large member, Director Terry Falk. The District 3 seat was previously scheduled for an election in April 2019. Interested candidates should contact the City of Milwaukee Election Commission with any questions."

MTEA President Amy Mizialko offered this statement to FOX6 News:

“For over a decade the citizens of Milwaukee School Board District 3 have been poorly served by Michael Bonds. Bonds’ tenure was marked by divisive tactics and attacks on the public education workers in the Milwaukee Public Schools who are the members of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. Bonds went so far as to thank the GOP legislature and Scott Walker for Act 10, the most damaging legislation to ever impact MPS. Milwaukee residents in District 3, MPS students and families, and MPS Educators deserve a school board director who supports public schools and shows respect for our students and the educators charged with serving them. Bonds’ resignation gives us hope and MTEA looks forward to working with a real public school champion in this seat.”