Fairfax School District board meeting attendees urge board president to resign

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Roughly two dozen people gathered at the Fairfax School District headquarters last night calling for board president Palmer Moland to resign.

The board held a special meeting during which it met in closed session to review qualifications for the district’s next superintendent. The meeting came after a scathing Kern County Grand Jury report released last week that called the board “divided and dysfunctional.”

Last summer, the board hired an investigative firm to look into harassment and bullying allegations against Moland. By winter, the firm presented its findings to the board and called on trustees to formally censure, or rebuke, Moland. 

However, Moland, along with trustees Jose Luis Tapia and Alma Rios, threw out a proposed censure resolution, which enraged many in the community. 

Fast forward to last week, the grand jury said the board — which oversees a district of 2,500 students and four campuses — has failed to allow public comment, violated its own bylaws and took no action regarding the allegations against Moland. 

Among several recommendations, the grand jury said the board should hire a conflict resolution specialist, allow more public access at meetings and called on the board to remove Moland by June 30, a recommendation supported by many in attendance at the meeting. 

“I as a taxpayer and a citizen of this community am requesting that Mr. Moland resign from this very meeting and should not be allowed to represent this district in any manner,” said Maria Hernandez.

Calling in to the meeting via Skype, Moland responded to the calls for his resignation.

“We’re attacking board members meeting after meeting, and we’re expecting to go about district business,” he said. “This is appalling, this is appalling.”

Some members of the community are organizing a recall campaign against Moland, Tapia, and Rios. The next board meeting is set for later this month.

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