Governor Newsom Announces State Purchase of Textbooks & $1.5 Million Fine for Temecula School Board

Sacramento, CA…Following the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s failure to adopt an updated social studies curriculum, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is entering into a contract to secure textbooks to ensure students in the district begin the school year with access to up-to-date books and materials that comply with state law. Elementary students in Temecula are slated to begin the school year on August 14, 2023, without proper instructional materials – in violation of state law – because of the school board’s 3-2 majority’s repeated decision to reject an updated curriculum.

“The three political activists on the school board have yet again proven they are more interested in breaking the law than doing their jobs of educating students — so the state will do their job for them,” said Governor Newsom. “California will ensure students in Temecula begin the school year with access to materials reviewed by parents and recommended by teachers across the district. 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.”

Due to the board majority’s inaction, students in the district are forced to use a textbook published in 2006. According to the district’s own documents published online, the district is out of compliance with at least three separate state laws and frameworks with its current curriculum. Last week, the Governor and state leaders demanded the school district follow the law and adopt an updated curriculum. Yesterday, July 18, 2023, the school board again voted by a 3-2 majority to reject the adoption of a new social studies curriculum that was recommended by teachers representing every elementary school in the district and reviewed by parents and community members.

The textbook the state is securing on behalf of the school district is part of one of the four standard programs approved by the state and is routinely and widely used across hundreds of school districts in California. During the last academic year, the curriculum was piloted by nearly 1,300 families in Temecula classrooms and was recommended by teachers representing every elementary school in the district and overwhelmingly supported by parents and community members. Materials were available for public and parent review for months. According to the school district, during the community feedback period, 98.8% of parents, educators, and community members expressed being supportive or impartial to the adoption.

The Governor is working with the Legislature and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to enact legislation to impose fines on any school district that fails to provide adequate instructional materials. California provides instruction and support services to roughly 5.9 million students in grades transitional kindergarten through twelve in more than 1,000 districts and over 10,000 schools throughout the state. Under Governor Newsom’s leadership, education funding is at a record high in California, totaling $129.2 billion in the 2023-24 budget.