Home Financial responsibility Petition to Recall Fairfax School Board Members Fails | New

Petition to Recall Fairfax School Board Members Fails | New

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The effort to recall three members of the Fairfax School District Board of Directors fell short of its goal.

A recall committee has been working since July to collect signatures to recall directors Palmer Moland, Alma Rios and Jose Luis Tapia. But a district assistant who heads the committee, Pamela Padilla, said the group would not be able to collect the required signatures before Sunday’s deadline.

The trio of directors targeted by the recall effort have formed a majority voting bloc in a series of controversial decisions that have sparked outrage at board meetings, considering a grand jury report County and Kern County Superintendent’s Audit of Schools Financial Crisis & Management Analysis Team.

The group had 90 days to collect 1,451 signatures. He hoped to bring them together well before that deadline, which would allow a recall election for the three members to qualify for the special election ballot on November 2.

Padilla estimated that the group had obtained 600 qualified signatures. His goal was always to greatly exceed the number of signatures needed to ensure that in the event that any one was rejected, they had enough to qualify for an election.

MIXED EMOTIONS

There were mixed emotions within the recall committee over what the failure of the petition meant.

Fairfax Junior High teacher Lisa Smith said the recall committee worked block-by-block through triple-figure summer evenings to secure signings. She said it would pay dividends when the seats of Moland and board chairman Rios were voted on in November 2022.

“We are not at all disappointed. We achieved one of our main goals, which was community outreach,” said Smith, a clerk of the recall committee. “We were able to communicate with the general public. They will be voters in the next public cycle.

Smith said she was proud of the work the group of volunteers did in the midst of a wave of COVID, often on days when the mercury approached 110 degrees. Padilla said the recall effort was hampered by relying on such a small group of dedicated volunteers.

REACTIONS FROM THE TRUSTEES

Moland said during the signature-gathering effort he was able to stay in touch with his constituents through platforms such as the NextDoor social media app about the recall.

“My constituents were telling me to stay positive and stay positive,” Moland said. “I wasn’t really nervous about it.”

Rios didn’t have much to say. She said she didn’t mean anything bad about anyone.

“What can I say? I don’t know,” she said.

The next step for the recall committee is unclear. Its members look to outside agencies such as the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and the Kern County Grand Jury to act as watchdogs.

UPCOMING ACTIONS

In June, KCSOS announced that it would conduct a financial audit of the district.

The grand jury released a report in May claiming the Fairfax school district was governed by “a school board in crisis.”

The report presented a series of recommendations with strict deadlines, such as checking the residences of board members and passing the censorship resolution that accuses Moland of creating a hostile working environment for district employees. – an accusation that he categorically denies.

Newly hired Fairfax superintendent Regina Green said the district has responded to the grand jury and continues to respond to its recommendations.

The censorship resolution repeatedly failed, with Rios and Tapia rejecting it. At the last board meeting, Green presented an amended version of the clause-less censure resolution asking the board to “reassess Director Moland’s conduct and commitment to honest and effective governance. at a public meeting ”following a governance training program.

Trustee Victoria Coronel requested that the clause be reinstated and that the board provide a rubric to assess Moland. Green noted that she deleted the clause because it did not contain a heading.

EXPENDITURE CONCERNS

Smith said what worries her most are the board’s decisions on legal spending. She said the board noted her legal expenses more than quadrupled last year, but failed to justify those expenses.

“Fourteen more months of this fiscal responsibility of Rios, Tapia and Moland will redefine the functioning of this district,” she said. “We are no longer going to be that school that will deliver to a marginalized population.”

At its September 14 meeting, Rios, Tapia and Moland blocked a proposal by Green to restore legal services to schools, the district’s longtime legal adviser, for non-council matters. The district owes the company a retainer for the year 2021-22, but the majority of the board has repeatedly signaled that it does not intend to use its services.

Moland said he never voted for some of the services used, such as the company hired to investigate him, which ultimately helped draft the censorship resolution.

You can reach Emma Gallegos at 661-395-7394.


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