Budget meeting dispute: MPS school board director tells teachers' union VP to 'go to hell'

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee Public Schools' budget meeting got so heated Tuesday night, April 17, it ended with Milwaukee Public Schools Board of School Directors' Michael Bonds telling teachers' union VP Amy Mizialko to "go to hell."

It stems from growing concern over the district's $30 million budget deficit for next school year. The vice president for the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association (MTEA -- the teachers' union) had the floor -- but was suddenly interrupted when vulgar remarks were thrown her way.

Amy Mizialko

"I was mortified for the families and students and educators that were sitting behind me," said Mizialko.

Before the outburst, Mizialko addressed Bonds directly.

"No one in this room will be pit against each other, Mr. Bonds," said Mizialko.

Mizialko was referring to a motion she says Bonds made that would cut teachers' raises to fund student transportation.

Michael Bonds

"The members of this union will go to hell and back for our students and we will never stop fighting until we get a budget and state funding that puts students and educators first," said Mizialko.

Bonds' reaction caused the audience to erupt in support of Mizialko -- someone shouting "check yourself." Bonds then yelled back.

"I was stunned to watch school board members sit silent last night -- and this behavior is... he is unfit," said Mizialko.

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

"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."

MTEA members will be picketing outside of the MPS Administration building Tuesday evening, April 24, calling for a budget that keeps cuts away from children and educators.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Sequanna Taylor, who is the president of the Milwaukee Educational Assistants' Association Council, a division of the MTEA issued this statement:

"Every day, MPS educators teach our students to conduct themselves in a positive and professional manner. Our students know that there will be consequences if they speak to their teachers in the way Director Bonds spoke to MTEA Vice President Mizialko during Tuesday night's school board meeting.

Several students were present during the meeting and witnessed the president of our school board boldly disrespect an educator and then escalate an already tense situation with additional inflammatory language – the opposite of how we teach our students to conduct themselves during a conflict.

Director Bonds' outburst at Tuesday's School Board meeting was totally inappropriate and he owes our union president and all MPS educators and students an apology."