Amid controversies, Palmer Moland removed as Fairfax School Board President; Alma Rios takes over after 3-2 vote

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KGET) — The Fairfax School Board of Trustees unanimously voted Thursday to remove Palmer Moland as board president while allowing him to stay on the board.

This vote comes more than a month after a scathing grand jury report labeled the Fairfax School District Board as “divided and dysfunctional,” and called on the board to remove Moland as he faces allegations of harassment and bullying.

Despite the unanimous vote to remove Moland as president, the vote about who would replace Moland as president was divided. Trustees Alma Rios, Jose Luis Tapia, and Palmer Moland voted for Rios to become the next board president while Trustees Virginia Lawson and Victoria Coronel voted against while. The final 3-2 vote propelled Rios to become the board’s new president.

When when the board later took up a motion to formally censure, or rebuke Moland, he left the meeting, sparking frustrations.

“I’m going to excuse myself and I’m going to let them vote on the censure motion,” he said, angering community members who spoke up arguing he should leave.

“Excuse me. Excuse me,” Rios said as those in attendance grew angry. The censure failed with Rios and Tapia voting against it.

Members of the community are organizing a recall campaign to oust Moland, Tapia, and Rios. Just over 1,500 valid signatures are needed by Sept. 26 to qualify a recall election on the ballot.

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