The Desert Sands Unified School District held their board meeting on Tuesday, February 23, 2023 evening and in a vote of 5-0, with no discussion, hired Coachella Valley Unified School District board member, Trinidad Arredondo as a consultant at a cost of (not to exceed) $15,000.
The educational consent item appears on the DSUSD agenda as item 25.8, and it appears that the consultancy is a repeat of what DSUSD teachers should be able to accomplish on their own. According to the Independent Contractor Agreement, Arredondo’s firm, TA Mentoring Services LLC is to perform the following service at Jefferson Middle School:
“develop and implement a Youth Leadership Program. The program focuses on teaching students about important values such as respect, dignity, love, and trust. The mentorship support will help students to improve their self-confidence, self-esteem, increase motivation, aspirations, build relationships, and broaden their horizons.”
The agreement further states that “TA Mentoring Services LLC offers mentorship programs to young people from Riverside County and the Coachella Valley. Their Mentors provide real-world knowledge and experience in order to connect with students and increase school engagement.“
Then there is this from the Jefferson Middle School Mission Statement:
According to Arredondo’s LinkedIn page, he has been a “consultant” since 2016, though he does not specify what it is he consults for.
Arredondo became a CVUSD board member in 2020 and, according to the California Secretary of State, he formed his LLC in June of 2021.
So, it appears that Arredondo waited until after he was elected to one desert school board to set up a consultancy company that he could market to other desert school districts. Is this ethical? It also appears that the DSUSD school board hired him unanimously without any discussion of who the LLC was or that they were paying $15,000 for services to do what district teachers should be already capable of doing? Does the DSUSD board aware of who Arredondo is? Should they be? Did Arredondo market his consultancy using his official capacity as a fellow school board member? Does the appearance of grift concern anyone? Who are the mentors that is mentioned? Are they vetted before making contact with students? Who vets them? What, exactly, is Arredondo going to teach students about “love”?