TVUSD board member Gonzalez resigns

Board Member Danny Gonzalez listens as a pro-recall speaker resorts to yelling, name calling, and hurling insults at the board majority, which is a regular practice during public comment at the board meetings. Valley News/Julie Reeder photo

Danny Gonzalez, a member of the Temecula Valley Unified School District board, has resigned from his position, effective Friday, December 15, 2023.

Gonzalez was one of three conservative members of the board, and his resignation has resulted in the loss of the conservative majority in the school district.

Gonzalez cited his work commitments, which require him to move to Texas for a couple of years, as the reason for his resignation. He is moving to a 40-acre ranch in Texas, where he will raise cattle and horses, rather than commute between Texas and California.

During his tenure on the board, Gonzalez was part of the conservative majority that kept their campaign promises in Temecula and implemented several policies, including the banning of critical race theory in the district, a flag policy for the American and California State flags and requiring administrative permission for any political flags such as Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ flags, which parents were objecting to in the classroom. The majority passed a parental notification policy requiring the schools to notify parents if their children were asking to identify as the opposite gender. Most recently, the majority passed a policy against pornography and erotica in student curriculum.

These actions, along with others, brought national attention to the Temecula Valley Unified School District, as well as the attention of Gov. Newsom and AG Bonta, who are against parental notification and scrutiny of material that the board, parents, and a new committee may consider sexually explicit and age-inappropriate.

The board now faces the decision of whether to hold a special election or to appoint a replacement for Gonzalez’s vacated seat. If an appointment is made, that person would serve until the next election in November 2024. In the case that the board decides not to make an appointment, a special election would be held, and the winner would serve for the remainder of Gonzalez’s term, which ends in December 2026.

The departure of Gonzalez from the board has been a significant development, especially considering the controversies and national attention surrounding the board’s decisions over the past year. The future direction of the school district’s policies and governance will likely be influenced by the decision on how to fill his vacant seat.

When Gonzalez made his announcement at the end of the regular session on Tuesday, December, 12. He said, “I am really proud of the accomplishments of this board this year. It’s rare when a community elects somebody to do something and they do exactly what they said they were going to do down to the letter, and this community elected three of them.”

Gonzalez talked about how hard it has been this year, even though they have accomplished what they promised to parents of the district during their campaign. He said the accomplishments came at a great personal cost to him and all the board members, including insults, death threats, racial slurs, attempts to hurt his business, and even insults to his 7-year-old son. He said, “I have taken it all on the chin, all the insults, the threats for the last year.”

The board is scheduled to meet on Monday, December 18, to discuss the appointment of a replacement, who would serve until November 2024.

Julie Reeder
Julie Reeder