By Jon King /

Seven years after being fired as Superintendent of Howell Public Schools, Ron Wilson has again left a Michigan school district under a cloud of controversy.

At a special meeting Monday, the Ionia Public Schools Board of Education voted 5-0 to accept Wilson’s “retirement and release” just a week after a failed non-homestead operating millage renewal and two months after his recommendation to close an elementary school resulted in the resignation of two school board members and a reversal of that vote.

According to the Ionia Daily News, Monday’s meeting was held without a notice being sent to the paper and no Zoom option being offered. Wilson was fired in 2014 by the Howell Public Schools Board of Education following a hearing that determined he had applied for $309 in travel reimbursements he knew he was not entitled to and then lied about afterward. Wilson later sued the Howell district, with a newly elected board approving a $350,000 settlement.

Wilson was hired in 2016 to be Ionia’s superintendent, but according to the Ionia Daily News, his last few months on the job were controversial, starting with his absence from a March 22nd board meeting in which his proposal to close an elementary school was passed, but was preceded by the resignations of the board’s President and Secretary. A vote to rescind the closing later passed 3-2.

Then about a week later, Wilson sent out an email to the district’s staff and school board members in which he said he had suffered from panic attacks, including one just hours before the school closing vote, which explained his absence from that meeting. He then said the incidents served as a “wakeup call” and reinforced the need “to take a more proactive approach to dealing with stress.”

The Michigan Leadership Institute is expected to be present at the board’s next meeting on May 17th to begin the search process for Wilson’s replacement.