Milwaukee parents, activists launch school board recall for lack of transparency over funding

The chaos also led Gov. Tony Evers to call for, then begin to organize a dual audit of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Published: June 16, 2024 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

There is now a recall effort to replace Milwaukee’s school board.

A group of parents and activists said they are looking to recall half of MPS’ board of directors, including President Marva Herndon, Vice President Jilly Gokalgandhi, Erica Siemsen and Missy Zomber.

Tamika Johnson, who spoke for the group, said those four mislead Milwaukee voters about April’s quarter-billion dollar MPS referendum and failed to tell parents and taxpayers about the persistent financial problems inside Milwaukee’s school district.

“It’s not enough for the superintendent to resign,” Johnson said. “This board and administration worked to hide the truth from the public, to push a false narrative for the need for more funding. They asked us to dig deeper into our pockets for a school district, and a board of elected leaders that have been irresponsibly managing our funding.”

Johnson said parents in Milwaukee have simply had enough.

"We all stand in solidarity saying ‘enough is enough,’" Johnson said. "I am here as a fed-up community organizer, a voice of those who are tired of being manipulated and misled, a voice for those who have been ignored and in need of an advocate.”

Johnson and her group are upset with both Milwaukee’s $252 million referendum, and the $1.5 billion budget for the next school year. Johnson said they are furious with the late and incomplete financial reports that have cost Milwaukee Public Schools nearly $17 million so far.

But to get the recall going won’t be easy.

The recall group will need at least 5,137 signatures to begin a recall against District 1 Director Marva Herndon, and as many as 44,177 signatures to recall Citywide Director Missy Zombor.

Johnson said the group does not have any candidates lined up in case their recall effort is successful.

MPS has been dealing with days of chaos since news broke earlier this month that MPS was late with two financial reports that were due to the state last year.

That news, along with opposition from parents and activists, led to the ousting of MPS Superintendent Keith Posley.

The chaos also led Gov. Tony Evers to call for, then begin to organize a dual audit of Milwaukee Public Schools.

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