The Calexico Unified School District continues to face hard times due to continuing financial problems. Until recently, the district also faced the possibility of state-imposed penalties in the millions after schools were forced to close in the aftermath of the 2010 Imperial Valley earthquake.
Although the school district’s attorney (Yuri Calderon with the firm GCR, Ltd.) has been working on obtaining a waiver from the state, the district also hired consultant Angelica Tellechea. Calexico board minutes show Tellechea was given a $30,000 contract on January 12.
A February 11 article in the Imperial Valley Press refers to a letter written by Anne Mallory, the superintendent of the Imperial County Office of Education, to Calexico Unified superintendent Richard Fragale. In the letter, Mallory “questioned the ‘need for the district to spend $30,000 for an individual to assist in the waiver-appeal process when the district attorneys were doing that work.’” (Mallory was unavailable for comment.)
In a response to Mallory, Fragale wrote that the attorneys were only able to do a portion of the work and that Tellechea had already saved the district millions: $3.7 million in state penalty waivers were approved in January.
Joong Kim, a Calexico boardmember, said in a February 17 interview that he had voted against hiring a consultant. “We have a major budget crisis. We don’t have the ability to pay for a consultant. I believe the administration should have done this job.”
In the Imperial Valley Press, Tellechea mentioned state senator Denise Ducheny for helping the district obtain the waivers.
Tellechea appears on Ducheny’s Federal Election Commission form for receipts and disbursements. Tellechea donated $699 to Ducheny’s 2010 campaign and was reimbursed $974 for an event that included catering and beverages.