By JOSH FRIEDMAN
At a time in which the Paso Robles Unified School District is dealing with increased scrutiny and controversy, trustees appointed a longtime pastor to fill a vacant seat on the board.
Trustee Jim Reed, a former Paso Robles city councilman, recently resigned from the school board because he is moving out of the state of California, the district says. Following Reed’s resignation, 11 individuals applied for the open seat on the school board.
On Tuesday, the board conducted panel interviews with the applicants. Trustees asked applicants about matters including recent board decisions, a potential school closure, mask enforcement, vaccine mandates and district finances.
Additionally, applicants gave statements about their candidacies, and the board listened to public comment. Following public comment, each board member identified their top candidate and second choice, which informally narrowed the field to four contenders.
When the board attempted to make the appointment, one motion by a trustee failed due to a lack of majority support. The board then appointed W. Frank Triggs on a 4-2 vote.
Triggs is a 15-year resident of Paso Robles who served as an ordained minister for more than 50 years, according to the school district. He taught church business management and served as the business manager for a large church and school.
His appointment to the Paso Robles school board lasts one year. Triggs can run in the Nov. 2022 election to secure the seat for an additional two years.
Recently, the the Paso Robles school board has dealt with a number of heated issues, including Critical Race Theory and accommodation of Spanish speakers. Currently, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating allegations that the Paso Robles school district discriminated against Latinos and non-English speakers, allegations the district denies.