Hayes supporters hire investigator, allege more wrongdoing at TVUSD

TVUSD Superintendent Timothy Ritter (right) and Board President Allen Pulsipher listen to public comments during the April 21, 2015 School Board meeting. Courtesy photo.

Supporters of fired Margarita Middle School Principal Karen Hayes released findings of a report by a 20-year FBI veteran that alleges more improprieties and wrongdoings by the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board. The accusations were aired during the public comments portion of a TVUSD school board meeting held at the district offices on Tuesday night.

“Our quest for answers began after the release of Karen Hayes as the Margarita Middle School principal,” said Craig Johns, who spoke on behalf of the group www.saveHayes.com.  “Though we have not received the answers and open communication, which we requested, our experience with TVUSD over the last month has opened our eyes to the dysfunction that exists here.

“Term extensions, the Snodgrass case, the whisperings of collusion and corruption were everywhere.  Our concern was so great that the expertise of a 20-year veteran of the FBI was recruited to help us uncover the information we sought,” he said. “Systemic problems and breeches in policies and procedures by the board and district office were only part of our findings.  We hope the results of our independent investigation that we will share a portion of with you tonight are the catalyst that will turn this district around, back to a crown jewel of our valley.”

The Snodgrass case refers to the alleged framing of then 17-year-old Jesse Snodgrass, a Chaparral High School student, targeted in the school’s undercover drug sting known as Operation Glass House. Jesse, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, and his parents are suing the district for negligence in the 2012 incident, that left Jesse expelled from school and facing drug charges that were eventually dismissed. Eventually Jesse was allowed to return to school and graduate with his classmates. The case, asking for an unspecified amount in damages, is ongoing.

According to Johns, the district became in breech of its own policies by hiring Lindsey Jean Ritter, daughter of TVUSD Superintendent Timothy Ritter, during a board meeting held on October 1, 2013. The group claims that the district created the position of Instructional Services and Assessment Reporting Secretary in August of 2012 with little discussion other than to say it was a “result of the recent reclassification process and the current needs of the educational support services division.”

“We found this odd, based on the fiscal climate of the district in 2012,” Johns said.  “When cross referencing transparentcalifornia.com, we noticed TVUSD was the only district in the entire state of California with this job classification.  This position requires only a high school diploma and the recommended high-end salary range could reach $4,165 per month, before benefits.”

Johns said that the position was the only one created during the August 7, 2012 special meeting and that it remained vacant until Oct. 16 of that same year when Debra Jilek, then a new hire, was placed into the position. In December of 2013, the board promoted Jilek to an executive assistant position where she would serve directly under Ritter.

“According to board minute records, nobody replaces Jilek in the Instructional Services Assessment Secretary position until Lindsey Ritter is promoted to that position on June 3, 2014,” Johns said, adding that the group believes she never should have been hired by the district due to a criminal record.

Johns went on to say that through the investigation the group discovered Lindsey Ritter has convictions including a “plea of guilty, nolo contendere (no contest) and/or a finding of guilty by a judge or a jury.”

“Court records confirm that Lindsey Ritter was charged with penal code 487 1-3,” Johns said. “Pertaining to one of two felonies with which she was charged which is grand theft. On January 17, 2012 Miss Ritter was sentenced without going to trial for … felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Sentencing included the repayment of  $18,676 worth of restitution to the San Diego court system and probation. We believe this condition was overlooked because of Mr. Ritter’s influence over this board, and more specifically, board President Allen Pulsipher.”

A search of San Diego County court records performed by Valley News Wednesday morning shows that a criminal case was filed against Lindsey Ritter in February of 2011, though the file was not available for viewing online.

“We have received numerous anonymous tips that Henry Voros, Assistant Superintendent of HRD at the time, did not want to hire her because of her record, but Mr. Ritter overrode his decision and hired her anyway,” Johns said.  “We ask for your clarification on this.  Is it true?  We feel this hiring exposed every taxpayer in our district.  Also, based on the severity of the charges, it also exposed every single family that has personal records at TVUSD.”

Members of the board do not respond during public comments at any board meeting and as such, did not comment on the allegations.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

21 Responses to "Hayes supporters hire investigator, allege more wrongdoing at TVUSD"

  1. Jennifer Harcarik   April 22, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    First of all, I applaud The Valley News for bringing this story to the community. Like many other Temecula residents, I am waiting for the board to make a statement and do an independent investigation of this matter. If Pulsipher and Robbins knew of her history and hired her anyways, I think they owe their constiuents an explanation why???

  2. Christa Fox   April 22, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    The allegations against the Board and specifically Mr Ritter keep piling up… The city needs to take action against these injustices immediately by removing Mr Ritter and anyone involved in these crimes. Thank you for posting this article and keeping Temecula residents informed of the immoral character of our elected school board.

  3. Lesli   April 22, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    It seems a position was created, and hiring was strategically done to get his daughter into a $40,000 a year job in short order. Pretty great to go from a receptionist position and in 7 months double your salary. All of that with a felonious criminal record and only a high school diploma. TVUSD is incestuous.

    • Tim   April 23, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Lesli, all of your comment was spot on, except for your last 3 words. Are you aware of what incestuous means?

  4. Nancy Hammett   April 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Did the board fail to do the followup and research on the applicant at that time, that they must fill in whether or not they have had a felony or misdemeanor?? Oh wait… It was his daughter!! Lol
    Did you know now that under the Superintendent Tim Ritter you can still get a job at TVUSD if you’re a felon or have had a misdemeanor?????

  5. Angie   April 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    The ironic part is that this entire campaign has been “anti-bullying,” yet this article and the comments are proving who the true bullies are. No recent mention of the 3 “bad” teachers, so now the group hits below the belt and go after the Superintendent and his family. Mudslinging at it’s finest. Makes all the comments that have been shared regarding the principal seem very fitting. Anyone who stood in her way or put up resistance was dealt with, even with trumped up allegations. Sickening.

    • Sandra   April 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Angie, where were your tears when Pulsipher read a statement in Open Session at the last board meeting defaming Mrs. Hayes. We have tried in so many ways to get answers from this Board and Superintendent and we have been ignored. Besides, TVUSD is not a privately held company. If it was, they could hire whoever they wanted. But it’s not, and there are certain actions which preclude employment.

      • Angie   April 23, 2015 at 10:57 am

        Tears? Your comment makes no sense. The district CANNOT comment on this due to legal reasons. By the way, where is the update on the current legal actions of Mrs. Hayes? And what does the daughter of the superintendent have anything to do with Mrs. Hayes being released from her job? It doesn’t. So you are grasping at straws, thus the dirty campaigning and the digging up “dirt”. All the issues of the “fear letter”, the 3 supposed harassing teachers, etc have not been mentioned because it got the campaign nowhere. So, let’s move onto the mudslinging, and nastiness. As for felonies, there have been a few present and previous administrators with some legal issues. Be careful what you drudge up.

        • Kristin hill   April 23, 2015 at 2:06 pm


          Mr.ritters daughter is completely relevant, maybe not to Karen Hayes’ issues, but it is relevant to the hundred of parents that are calling into question the ability of the distrct to serve us and our children, and THEIR ability to be unbiased. If the district is as capable as they are claiming to be, then there should be nothing for them to worry about. As for the bullies that you don’t think exist, are you wanting to hear more about them?? Cause those stories keep piling up as well, and again, if they aren’t really guilty of what they’re being accused of, then there should be nothing to worry about.

  6. henry   April 22, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Not sure if anyone remembers but what happened last year when services for students that did not speak e nglish were eliminated, 6 teachers stood up at public comments and voiced concerns to Ritter, and the rest of his minions. These teachers advocated for students and filed a civil rights lawsuit. All 6 of those teachers were reassigned and removed from their positions because they stood up and spoke out. We remember and applaud those teachers. Tvusd is corruption at its finest.

  7. Fredrick   April 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Wow! What reign. Civil rights violations for not providing special ed students with services, police stings targeting autistic kids, civil rights investigation ( ongoing) for not providing limited english speakers with instruction, investigation by riverside county office of Ed, the list goes on and on. Truth: temecula teachers are awesome, but employees at the District, like Ritter and his team, are dead weights. If it were not for the amazing teachers that work day after day for their students, Tvusd would be nothing. It’s time for all those at the district office to get a reality check and get back into the classroom.

  8. Kristin Hill   April 22, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Angie, how is this bullying in any capacity? Karen Hayes name has been dragged thru the mud, and plenty of accusations have been put out there about her…but as soon as someone raises questions and makes accusations about someone other than her, it’s bullying? The door swings both ways. Nice way to deflect what this article is actually about tho.

  9. Tracy eaves   April 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

    It’s very important to remember that there are several different issues going on here. We can’t lump them all together. At this point things need to be investigated one by one. The Hayes investigation and findings should have no barring on the bad teachers investigation. Our kids and teachers should not be harassed at school. The districts process is broken, that is very clear specially with the recent posts on TT by heart broken parents trying to help their kids and feeling like they are not getting support. Just because a teacher, administrator, or a child who bullies was moved to another school doesn’t mean the disfunction of the remaining teacher, teachers, or other bullying students went away. It also doesn’t mean that the victims including students and their families pain just vanished because it’s not front page news. The recent documented information of misconduct and shady decisions by several but not all board members and administration needs to be investigated and has nothing to do with the Hayes case. Let’s keep them separate! There will be a very clear paper trail that doesn’t need to be confirmed by the board because at this point we all know” they can’t say anything.” It is the responsibility of the community and investigators to confirm with factual evidence. It is also important to keep in mind just because a person supports a situation does not mean they don’t have empathy for the family who is now dealing with controversy. We love our kids and our community and that is why this is such a touchy topic. Let’s be proactive but remember just because you don’t like what is being said doesn’t always mean it’s bullying. As for the statement that was read by Pulsipher at the district meeting a couple weeks ago, it was a beautifully crafted letter that was read to those who were at the meeting, myself included. But due to recent findings it’s kinda hard for me to believe the well drafted statements. These investigations are just beginning and I believe the tree of deceit has many branches.

  10. Ellie   April 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Angie, are you another employee related to the Ritter’s? Honestly, to try and insinuate that anyone is “grasping at straws” is ridiculous. There are thousands of concerned citizens because the Hayes case is just one of MANY concerns people have with our dysfunctional district and board. The Snodgrass case, the term extensions, the Hayes case, the special ed money being misappropriated, the list goes on and on. Now, when they community invesitgates the Hayes case and takes the time to listen to board minutes and finds THIS, you suggest it’s mud slinging??? No mam, it’s called nepotism. And I’m sorry but NO, I DON’T want my tax dollars paying someone, who has complete access to my student’s file (and our family’s personal information) and is on probation for serious theft from their last employer! And unlike Karen Hayes, this information is NOT protected. It’s PUBLIC RECORD. Why isn’t the district commenting? Fortunately, there are agencies that CAN make that happen.

  11. Donna   April 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Huge eye roll.

  12. SHAFT   April 24, 2015 at 8:51 pm


  13. Bill Derek Duncan   April 25, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I find it ironic that a TVUSD employee filed a complaint against a TVUSD employee that resulted in another TVUSD employee being demoted. Does this mean that if this complaint is never written/filed then none of this happens…all is still peachy in Temecula? Or does it mean that if this situation was handled appropriately by the people in authority then it does not lead to the current fiasco? Obviously someone did not handle this situation (without any biases) like they should have and this mishandling led to some serious consequences. We all make mistakes and most do not get demoted for a first time offense so this obviously was not a first time offense. The District Office does give second chances. One of the current AP’s at MMS was demoted from another site and yet they took the demotion and did not make it a local scandal, instead they continued to do their new job and put their pride and ego aside. That is not the case is this situation. An opportunity to continue on as a TVUSD employee has been offered but not accepted. I find that extremely hypocritical. The fact that someone who says they love children and education is refusing an offer to work more closely with them is a sign of a large ego. They may not be in charge of a whole school but they would be in charge of their classroom. They would have an opportunity to make a daily difference in the lives of their students. I am sure that all of these supporting parents would love to have a local hero teach their children on a daily basis right? And why wouldn’t this local hero embrace the opportunity to work more closely with their supportive parents and students of TVUSD? I guess pride can sometimes cause a person to not think rationally and walk away from their professional responsibilities/opportunities in search of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

  14. Kristin hill   April 28, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Bill Duncan, I do understand your concern about why Karen would not accept a teaching position. However,she has not officially been offered a teAching job, that is just something that the “other side” keeps claiming. there is a letter from the HR department to Karen stating that she is to turn in her keys to MMS (dated March 11, 2015) and that pending board approval she will be released from her contract and possibly reassigned. She is officially in paid administrative leave, no job offer from the district to date. So your “EGO” theory doesn’t really apply here.

  15. Bill Derek Duncan   April 28, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Ms. Hill,
    I respectfully ask that you read the Board’s Agenda and Minutes for 3/17/15 so you can be properly informed. Like many other KH supporters, you are being lead astray and cannot believe anything and everything she says. She knows that you will not do your own own homework and verify facts because you “trust” and “believe” her. I heard one supporter say that she is willing to follow her to the ends of the earth, if that is true, I will personally pay for the ticket and have them both go the other end of the earth so we can all get back to our lives. I know my life has only gotten better since 3/17/15. A day I will never forget…as a matter of fact, I will celebrate it as a holiday from here on out! Better Days without Hayes!

  16. Bill Derek Duncan   May 3, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    So it looks like the gofundme account for Temecula’s Local Hero is at a whopping $250…so much for putting their money where their mouths are huh? I do not even see some support from the woman who said she would go to the ends of the earth with Temecula’s Finest. Also, is it a scholarship or a legal defense fund? I would think someone who has made six figures for over a decade could afford their own legal fee’s since they were the ones who hired them. Also, I am aware of the Principal of the Year award and also wanted to add that the Superintendent and an HRD Director were also chosen as Administrators of the Year. I guess they are in great company with Temecula’s Hero but for some reason these accolades have not been mentioned…hmmm, I wonder why not? I would think you need to give credit where credit is due, but in this mudslinging campaign that might not be very helpful. Another interesting thought is that Temecula’s Hero is not even a resident of Temecula and her supporters are doing a great job at bringing Temecula’s great reputation a black eye. I am glad I am not trying to sell a home in Temecula at the moment and even more glad that my neighboring city does not have a Local Hero like Temecula’s. With these types of Hero’s, who needs villains behind masks. Maybe we should just reinstate Temecula’s Finest and go back to having all of this kept under the rug. I wonder why some West Coast Winery does not offer this local Hero an Administrative position to help run the business because there is a large fan base that would regularly attend the business and that would be great from a PR and profitability stand point. Woo hoo for West Coast Days without Haze!

  17. Heather Dailey   May 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    BDD is yet another fake name used by s coward. If you speak the truth, use your name. You are just a “villain behind a mask”


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