Ritter’s term as superintendent has been memorable only for multiple public scandals, financial improprieties, public investigation by the state of California, hypocrisy, and open hostility toward those who dare criticize him. He is an enormous liability to the Temecula Valley Unified School District.
Six months ago, the school board election was more than a message. It was a demand. Remarkably, board members who were elected two decades earlier were forcibly removed by the people to whom they reported; the people whose taxes paid their wages and benefits. As the school year is coming to an end, the board must take a look at what a 2015-16 school year will look like should Ritter remain in the corner office, and there are simply no good scenarios.
Under Superintendent Timothy Ritter, TVUSD’s school board meetings have turned into a bizarre mash-up of the Jerry Springer Show and the Mickey Mouse Club.
The current situation is not tenable, and Ritter is sadly reduced to coaxing loyalists from Great Oak High School, where he is the former principal, to act as his cheering section at school board meetings. It’s also worth noting that Great Oak High School is the only TVUSD high school that was declared off-limits from the now-discredited sting, Operation Glass House, which Ritter personally authorized. Because of Tim Ritter’s inability to face criticism from the public, he has pathetically turned the school board meetings into a bizarre mash-up of the Jerry Springer Show and the Mickey Mouse Club.… Read more
According to (Craig) 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.
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.”
One more word, hypocrite.
On Friday, in what can only be described as an act of astonishingly bad judgement, TVUSD’s Assistant Superintendent of Educational Support Services Jodi McClay attempted to defend Rittergate via an emailed statement to the Press Enterprise newspaper.
In McClay’s statement, she mentioned that “drug crimes” would preclude a person from employment at TVUSD. This would seem to disqualify the 22 former TVUSD students who were arrested in the now-discredited and ironically named sting, Operation Glass House. We take McClay’s implication very personally.… Read more
In this document, paragraph #1 currently reads as follows:
The Governing Board recognizes the rights of Board members to freely express their views and encourages open discussion of issues during the Board meeting. The Board believes that all Board members have a responsibility to express themselves, whether in agreement or disagreement with the other Board members, in ways that support the Board’s ability to govern the District.
If the proposed changes are accepted, it would be changed to read as follows:
The Governing Board recognizes the responsibility of Board members in their role as community leaders to participate in public discourse on matters of civic or community interest, including those involving the district, and their right to freely express their personal views. However, to ensure communication of a consistent, unified message regarding district issues, Board members are expected to respect the authority of the Board to choose its representatives to communicate its positions and to abide by established protocols.
All public statements authorized to be made on behalf of the Board shall be made by the Board president or, if appropriate, by the Superintendent or other designated representative.
The proposed changes to this document could easily be interpreted as a message to the new board members to “keep your mouths shut and know your place.” If this is the case, the irony is that the new board members actually hold the majority.… Read more
Under a cloud of scandal, current Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) school board president Allen Pulsipher has decided he wants out, ASAP.
Two dozen hopefuls have applied to fill the seat on the Temecula City Council vacated by former Councilman Chuck Washington…
Washington was appointed last month to serve on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. The council decided to appoint someone to serve out the remainder of his term, which expires in 2016, rather than call for an election.
(The candidates will) all get a chance to introduce themselves Monday when the council conducts public interviews. The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. A decision is expected to be made at the April 28 meeting.
Among those who have applied for the vacant City Council seat is Pulsipher. If he gets in, he will join former TVUSD Board Member and current Council Member Maryann Edwards, who is on a first name basis with TVUSD Superintendent Timothy Ritter. However, the taxpayers of Temecula are welcome to make their thoughts known to the city council, this Monday, April 20, at 5:00 p.m. at city hall.
For a partial list of the scandals that have occurred under Pulsipher, see this link.
A year-long investigation by the California Department of Education (CDE) into the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s (TVUSD) special education department found a multitude of violations – click here to read the full CDE report (323 pages) – including the following examples of improper use of funds designated for TVUSD’s special education students:
40 school district staff members, who were not assigned to teach Special Education students, received a portion of their salaries from special education funds during the 2013-2014 school year.
A Temecula charter school to which TVUSD was required to provide Special Education funds received only 54.3% of the funds during the 2013-2014 school year.
In total, the CDE issued 226 corrective actions and has given TVUSD a deadline of April 15, 2015 to provide evidence that all corrective actions have been completed, including repayment of the misappropriated funds.
It is fantastic news that there have been no schools in the Southern California region that participated in undercover school drug stings. We find these practices to be extremely abusive and pointless as they ultimately destroy the lives of so many students, do not make them any safer, and violate their civil rights. Hopefully, these shameful acts will be banned in every school district. We expect our schools to protect our children and not teach them how to buy drugs.
dsnodgrass first wrote about his autistic son being entrapped by undercover cops planted in his son’s high school on Feb. 1, 2013. Doug wrote 30 diaries over the next two years keeping us updated as the story was picked up by Rolling Stone and made the subject of a documentary. Doug and his wife Catherine are heroes for taking the system on head first and being instrumental in the banning of undercover drug stings in schools.
The triumphant smiles of Doug, Jesse & Catherine Snodgrass at Jesse’s high school graduation
As you can see in the photo above, Jesse graduated from his high school even after being set up, arrested and incarcerated to be used as financial fodder for the Temecula Juvenile Detention business. The photo celebrates a strong family that triumphed and shut down a money-making operation that required special needs students to be thrown under the bus. Doug and his family, with the help of our amazing community, steeled themselves to stop this. Many families have been deeply hurt by these policies, but Doug and Catherine halted that. Heroes.
As we recently reported, the voters of Temecula replaced all three incumbent school board members with the candidates we endorsed.
(Pictured left to right) Bob Brown, Vince O’Neal, Kristi Rutz-Robbins, Allen Pulsipher, Richard Shafer, (center) Tim Ritter (yup, crown was Photoshopped)
On November 18, two weeks after election night, the school board held its final meeting with the three lame duck members. A piece of business they unanimously approved was a (roughly) one million dollar contract extension for Superintendent Timothy Ritter, even though nearly two years remained on the current contract, along with contract extensions for his two assistant superintendents, Jodi McClay and Lori Ordway-Peck, (who has been accused of misrepresenting budget projections by the Temecula Valley Educators Association). The combined compensation packages that were approved total nearly two and a half million dollars, paid by the same citizens who voted the board members out of office.
This appears to be a curious overreach. The voting public demanded that each board member whose terms were expiring stop working with the children in Temecula’s public schools, including two board members who first came to their positions two decades ago. Yet they, along with board members Kristi Rutz-Robbins and Allen Pulsipher (who will have their chance to hear from the voters in 2016) ignored the clear message that the voters expected major change, starting at the top. Instead, they decided to spend millions of our tax dollars to reward poor performance and bad behavior, flipping off the voters.
The Riverside County Registrar of Voters has certified the ballots for the 2014 Temecula School Board election, and the results are now official. Huge congratulations are in order for our newest board members, Julie Farnbach, Kevin S. Hill and Sandy Hinkson. These are the three candidates we publicly endorsed and they come to the five member board as an immediate majority. History will show that this election was an important moment in a burgeoning civil rights movement. Children are often the forgotten victims of civil rights violations, and we maintain that every undercover drug sting in schools is a violation of children’s civil rights.
The outcome of this election is a direct result of Operation Glass House, the abusive debacle in which undercover officers from the Riverside County Sheriffs Department entrapped twenty two of Temecula’s children in a fabricated drug sting, nine who were Special Education students, including our autistic son, Jesse Snodgrass. This is precisely the result we worked for, on behalf of Jesse, and all other children who we believe were abused under the watch of TVUSD administrators.
Greenberg’s legacy is the authorization of a 2013 undercover operation in his Perris and Menifee schools, approximately 20 miles from Temecula. The operation was nearly identical to the 2012 Temecula operation. Included in the arrest was a 15-year-old special education student, who read at third grade level. The boy spent Christmas holidays behind bars and was charged with a felony after selling a single Vicodin pain pill for $3, which had been prescribed to him, to a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy who posed as a student all semester.
Greenberg has not hesitated from piling on these kids since the arrest, seemingly bragging about his role to anyone who will listen. In Teen Vogue of all places, Greenberg said, “We hope for them that this is the worst day of their lives.”
Stay classy John.
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