Watch CBS News

Temecula residents vote on recall of controversial school board president

Temecula school board president Joseph Komrosky faces recall election
Temecula school board president Joseph Komrosky faces recall election 02:27

Thousands of Temecula residents voted on Tuesday the fate of the school district president who has been at the center of controversy in recent months. 

Dr. Joseph Komrosky, who leads the Temecula Valley Unified School District, has often been in the public eye in recent months for his back-and-forth with California Governor Gavin Newsom over LGBTQ+ issues. 

Temecula Valley School Board Rejects Curriculum; Gov. Gavin Newsom Issues $1.5 Million Fine
Temecula Valley Unified School District President Dr. Joseph Komrosky speaks to another board member prior to their public meeting in Temecula on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via Getty Images

In June 2023, Komrosky and fellow board members voted to reject the state's social studies curriculum that contained information on Harvey Milk, a pioneering gay rights figure in California. 

"My question is, why even mention a pedophile?" Komrosky said at the time during a school board meeting. 

Watch: Temecula's controversial book ban sparks protests

Gov. Newsom responded with threats of repercussions for the district as the two traded jabs on the topic

Eventually, the threat of a $1.5 million fine for the district based on what Newsom called "willful violation of the law," was enough to get board members to adopt the curriculum, but not without claiming that they would work to find a way to avoid the curriculum while still meeting state mandates. 

Months later, the TVUSD board then voted on another controversial topic by opting to limit what flags can be displayed on school and district grounds. The policy does not explicitly state which flags are banned, but only allows the United States and state flags. Any other flags require approval from the superintendent. 

Temecula school board fires Superintendent Jodi McClay
Members of The Temecula Valley Educators Association, students, and parents of the district cheer in support of keeping Temecula Valley Unified School District Superintendent, Jodi McClay on the board at Temecula Valley High School on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Anjali Sharif-Paul/MediaNews Group/The Sun via Getty Images

A closed door firing of beloved Superintendent Jodi McClay, who had held the position for more than two decades, also drew the ire of many residents and educators.

The recall vote has been a contentious topic amongst Temecula residents in the months since it was announced, with both sides taking to city streets to publicly show their support on both sides of the issue. 

Read more: Temecula's ban on critical race theory and gender notification policy faces legal challenges

As of 11:20 p.m., votes to recall Komrosky held a 53.55% lead over the 46.45% of votes in support. 

Komrosky and two other conservative school board members were elected on the back of campaigns that were partially funded by PAC money controlled by a local pastor. He is the only one of the three facing recall, however. 

KCAL News has requested comment from Dr. Komrosky but has not yet heard back. 

He shared a post on his personal Instagram page in an appeal to voters before polls closed. 

"Since I've been elected by the majority of the community, I've no greater honor in my entire life than in protecting your children's innocence," the post said. "I've done this by reducing any social activism in our school district so that we can return to a more common sense back to basics educational framework."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.