Ballots have been mailed out, the voter registration deadline has passed and now it’s up to the residents of Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Trustee Area 4 whether or not to recall Board President Joseph Komrosky.

The recall effort officially kicked off last summer, but the seeds for Tuesday’s recall election were planted nearly 18 months ago when Joseph Komrosky, Jen Wiersma and Danny Gonzalez took their oaths of office — creating a board majority that was able to push through a number of controversial policies.

“Because we were basically outnumbered by the board majority, we really didn’t have a lot to say about anything because just everything kind of just got done, you know, aside from what we felt or what we believed,” Board Member Steven Schwartz said in an interview with TN News. “So that was, you know, those were really difficult times.”

Schwartz, whose current term ends this December, said that meetings have been a lot calmer since Danny Gonzalez’s sudden resignation last December, though he said there have been other concerns related to how Komrosky sets the agenda.

“Because when you’re the board president, you do have certain powers like you basically determine the agenda,” Schwartz said. “So, if you’re the one who determines the agenda, you pretty much decide what gets talked about and what doesn’t get talked about.”

However, Board Clerk Jen Wiersma said it has been an honor to serve the community alongside Komrosky on the school board.

“I’m proud Dr. Komrosky has courageously kept his campaign promises despite the unrelenting boardroom lawfare and personal attacks on his family by the teacher’s union, community activists, and even our own governor, Gavin Newsom,” she said in an email to The Record. “People underestimate the steep learning curve and tremendous amount of pressure that comes with challenging the status quo as a school board president.”

Stay up to date with the latest from The Record. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter today!

Wiersma said that some of the board’s biggest achievements under Komrosky’s leadership are among those that have been the most controversial in the community.

“Choosing a strong new superintendent, securing parental rights, advocating against divisive ideology like CRT, and preventing obscenity and sexualized themes in future supplemental curriculum are some of the board’s biggest achievements,” she wrote. “Good policy and neutral classrooms are necessary for student safety, academic rigor and focused learning.”

And voters against the recall who spoke with The Record last month agreed that the board’s decision to ban critical race theory (CRT), which was not being taught in the district; effort to remove supplemental material, like a biography of Harvey Milk, from a state-approved curriculum; adoption of a parental notification policy which experts say is harmful to transgender and nonbinary youth; and effective ban on teachers displaying pride flags in their classrooms were among the reasons why they supported Komrosky.

“I decided not to support the recall effort because Dr. Komrosky has done a great job,” Michael Gregory, a voter and dad, said in an interview with The Record.

Gregory said that Komrosky’s ability to get the above policies passed shows how hard he is willing to work to keep his campaign promises.

“He’s done an excellent job,” Gregory said. “However, the school district union and administrators work against him.”

Kate Weems, a voter and grandmother to TVUSD students, told The Record that she didn’t support the recall effort because she agrees with Komrosky’s approach to parental rights.

“I think that parents should just be able to decide what goes on in the classroom, what goes on in the books in the library,” she said. “If parents want to teach their kids things other than the traditional means of education, that’s fine. I have no problem with it, but don’t force the rest of us to go along with it.” 

But voters in support of the recall effort said they felt decisions like the ones above were actively alienating members of the community.

“I think that my biggest thing, just being you know, one of the minorities in this area, is him trying to kind of take away or do away with CRT and things like that,” Latreka Joseph, a voter and mom, said in an interview with The Record. “It kind of, for my family, does not allow our voices to be heard, I think, in the district, you know.”

Longtime resident Linda McDonald told The Record that while she doesn’t have children in TVUSD schools, she felt it was important to get involved to prevent a national political agenda from taking hold in the community.

“We believe in democracy, and we believe in the separation of church and state, and we believe in the rule of law,” she said. “And these people have shown they don’t.”

As for the organizers of the recall effort, they’re confident in the organizing work they’ve done up to this point and the work they’re continuing to do to get out the vote.

(Graphic by Alicia Ramirez/TN News)

“When you’re going out canvassing, you’re hoping to get the signature, and you’re working to get the signature, and that’s the goal,” Jeff Pack, co-founder of One Temecula Valley PAC, said. “And then all you’re doing now is kind of getting somebody saying, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna vote yes,’ but it’s been good.”

And while those on both sides of the recall issue don’t agree on most things, everyone who spoke with The Record said their hope is that the board can move forward in a way that best serves the students, teachers, staff and community of TVUSD.

“Instead of coming in with the agenda, I think the board members need to get out to the schools, talk to the parents, talk to the teachers and generate district policies and agendas based on what what is needed from from the different schools,” Chris Dowell, a voter and former educator, said in an interview with The Record. “Because each school has different needs whether it be minority students or second language learners.”

Komrosky declined an interview with The Record, but said in an emailed statement that he was “busy ensuring that each and every student at TVUSD receives a safe and good education.” 

“I’m hopeful that the community that voted me in last time to do the very thing I promised them I would do, will be voting ‘No’ on this recall,” he wrote. “Until then, I’m excited to continue to reintroduce my values to this wonderful community of Temecula.”

As of this morning, approximately 5,600 vote-by-mail ballots have been returned to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters office. In order to be counted, ballots must be postmarked by June 4 and arrive at the registrar’s office by June 11. 

Voters who wish to drop off their mail-in ballots can do so at any vote center during the hours of operation and at the secure 24-hour ballot drop boxes outside of the registrar’s office. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. June 4.

Those who prefer to vote in person can do so at the following locations and times:

  • Temecula Valley USD Office — Room 3303, 31350 Rancho Vista Road, Temecula
    Saturday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Temecula Middle School — Classrooms 904/905, 42075 Meadows Parkway, Temecula Saturday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Riverside County Fire Station 96 — Bay Area, 37700 Glen Oaks Road, Temecula
    Saturday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Riverside County Registrar of Voters, 2720 Gateway Drive, Riverside
    Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

TN News is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet providing Riverside County with high-quality journalism free of charge. We’re able to do this because of the generous donations of supporters like you!

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

One reply on “TVUSD Recall Election Is Just Around The Corner, But How Do Voters Feel?”

Comments are closed.