After a six-hour long board meeting for the Temecula Valley Unified School District, it was a 3-2 board decision on voting to reject a state-endorsed curriculum that includes a short biography of gay rights leader Harvey Milk.
Less than 24 hours later, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a $1.5 million fine against the district for not following California educational code, calling out the president of the school board, Joseph Komrosky, for rejecting the curriculum based on the harmful bias of the sexualization of the LGBTQ+ community.
“After we deliver the textbooks into the hands of students and their parents, the state will deliver the bill — along with a $1.5 million fine — to the school board for its decision to willfully violate the law, subvert the will of parents, and force children to use an out-of-print textbook from 17 years ago,” said Newsom.
Along with the fine, the East Los Angeles District are also enforced to pay a $1.6 million cost for shipping school materials to Temecula District, per se Newsom in past press statements if only the district did not comply with the curriculum requirement. Their reference for their approval of their own social studies book, one from 2006 that does not meet up-to-date standards of the state's education level.
Board member Steven Schwartz, whom voted yes for the passing of the curriculum, said, “It was a mistake to reject the curriculum. When you play with fire, sometimes you get burned.”
“It is devastating to receive news of a fine of this magnitude,” said Allison Barclay, another member of the board who voted yes. “Out students deserve the best, and I believe that this new curriculum, was piloted by 47 teachers and 1,300 students is an excellent resource for our district. I am hopeful we can work with the state to come into compliance and avoid any undue financial burden on our district that, in the end, will only hurt our students.”
“While engaged in this process, I am confident that while reviewing any curriculum for use in this district, (we) will select the best material that emphasizes our mission of, ‘High-Quality Teaching and Learning for All,' but that also avoids any teacher-to-student conversations related to sex and sexual activity at the elementary school level,” Komrosky wrote.
Tonight, the district's board will be deciding on the curriculum implementation and its compliance with the commitment of taking out sexualized topics for all elementary school grade levels in Temecula. According to The Orange County Register, the item on Friday night's agenda would pass the curriculum, but not in its entirety.
Online student resources in the curriculum would not be purchased, according to a report from Komrosky. His proposal also pushes back a fourth-grade unit in the curriculum toward the end of the school year.
Friday's meeting starts at 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 31350 Rancho Vista Road, Temecula. A livestream will be available on the district's YouTube channel.