A photo of the sign in front of the Temecula Valley Unified School District administration building. (Source: Temecula Valley Unified School District)

Just three days after what was set to be the final Temecula Valley Unified School District Board meeting of the year, District 2 Board Member Danny Gonzalez has resigned.

At his final meeting, Gonzalez used his board member comment time to call out district staff, teachers, community members and fellow Board Member Steven Schwartz for what he described as “vile attacks,” on him, his family and his religious beliefs.

“As an elected official, I’ve come to expect a certain level of criticism, and I think that holding our elected officials accountable is an important tradition,” he said. “I have taken it all on the chin, all the insults, the threats, for the last year.”

Schwartz said he was notified of Gonzalez’s resignation from an email from the district that laid out next steps for the board.

“His resignation gives us hope that, as a board, we can focus on doing the business of the district instead of politically-driven culture war issues that don’t affect our community or our kids — like banning books and banning CRT and banning flags and refusing to put textbooks into classrooms and outing our LGBTQ kids,” Schwartz said. “Hopefully we can get back to worrying about the students and teachers in our district.”

In an email to The Record, Board Member Allison Barclay said that she was not aware that Gonzalez was going to resign prior to notice from the district, though she said there had been “rumors” circulating throughout the community that he “might be moving.”

“With the resignation of Mr. Gonzalez, I am hopeful we can get back to the important work of this board and district,” Board member Allison Barclay said. “It has been a difficult year with so much chaos and division in our community, I look forward to moving ahead with renewed energy and focus on our students.”

The board will discuss how it plans to fill the seat at a special meeting set for 9:30 a.m. Monday.

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Schwartz said his preference was for the board to appoint someone since a special election is expected to cost approximately $200,000.

“I would volunteer to be part of a committee to work with another board member and [human resources] to gather resumes and look through them,” he said. “Once we get a bunch of resumes, go through them and screen them and then invite people in for interviews and pick a candidate.”

The Record reached out to Komrosky, Wiersma and Gonzalez for comment, but did not hear back prior to publication.

Gonzalez’s resignation came a little more than a week after One Temecula Valley PAC said it had submitted more than 5,000 signatures to recall Board President Joseph Komrosky.

In an email to The Record, the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Public Information Officer Elizabeth Florer said the office expects to conclude its review of the signatures and declare the validity of the petition by Jan. 22. If the petition is deemed sufficient, the board has 14 days to order an election. 

In the meantime, Jeff Pack, co-founder of One Temecula Valley PAC, said the group was continuing its outreach.

“We want to make sure to reiterate to the people that have already signed that this is the right thing to do, that [Joseph] Komrosky does not represent greater Temecula, that his policies are bad and his mismanagement is destroying the district slowly but surely,” he said.

While the PAC initially set out to recall Komrosky, Gonzalez and Board Clerk Jen Wiersma, Pack said the group ultimately decided not to pursue petitions against Gonzaelz and Wiersma.

“We sort of dropped those about a month and a half ago,” he said. “Not because we didn’t have momentum, but we thought we should focus on making sure we absolutely, positively got one of them out.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Wiersma said that she was confident that “truth was going to win out,” and that she would support Komrosky in the event of a recall election.

“I’m going to help tell that story, because I believe in you,” she said. “And it’s why I voted for you [to be board president] tonight.”

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.

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