Portola Valley superintendent accused of using money for home

June 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The tiny Portola Valley School District is dealing with a big scandal where a former superintendent is charged with embezzling money from the school district.

Tim Hanretty is accused of using district money to renovate his Woodside home. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.

Investigators say Hanretty began stealing money from the Portola Valley School District just months after he was appointed superintendent and chief business officer two years ago. All of this came to light when auditors began checking the district's books after Hanretty was charged in April for misappropriation of funds while working for the Woodside Elementary School District. Investigators say the audit revealed suspicious invoices that totaled a $100,000 from the district's solar panel escrow account.

"What they found was that six of the invoices were not devoted to solar panels for the school, they were devoted to renovation on his own personal home and yet the school district money was being charged for that through these invoices which were run through that solar account," said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Pictures of Hanretty's home can be found on his architect's website. According to his contractor, the renovations included work on the foundation, the basement and the kitchen. Hanretty is out on bail and has been charged with seven felony counts of embezzlement.

We tried giving Hanretty an opportunity to speak. He didn't answer the door, but the man who did told us to call his attorney instead. Our messages to Hanretty's lawyer have gone unreturned. As for the parents, they're shocked by this whole thing.

"He's a really nice guy and that's partly why it's shocking," said Glenn Reid, a parent who has a child enrolled in the Portola Valley School District. He says the district is now considering layoffs and other cuts to make up for the stolen money. "It's just a big disappointment, like really, these are kids and I think that's what everyone feels. You know, find someplace else to finance your home."

The auditors will make a public presentation of their findings at Wednesday's school board meeting. As for Hanretty, his next appearance in court is scheduled for Tuesday morning.


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