James Walton Paid a Consultant to Create a Colorado Charter School
Walmart grandson, James Walton, wants to start a charter school in Jefferson County (Denver), Colorado, except he doesn’t want anyone to know that he is behind the school.
In August 2015, Amy Malik submitted this 738-page application to the Jefferson County Board of Education (Jeffco) in an attempt to gain approval for the Great Work Montessori School (GWMS).
But there is more.
In June 2015, Amy Malik signed a contract with one of James Walton’s nonprofits, Great Work Education Holdings (GWEH), and was paid $6,250 a month/$75,000 a year for “consulting” in order to “deliver” a charter school to James Walton, GWEH executive director:
Scope of Work: Montessori Learning Community Lead
Consulting Fee: $6,250/month – $75,000/year
Contract Period: June 25, 2015 – June 30, 2016
The following paragraph describes the duties AMY MALIK will be responsible for throughout the contract period:
Amy Malik will assist Great Work Education Holdings in developing a public charity 501c3 organization that will operate a Montessori Learning Community. Over the year Amy will develop a strong board that honors pedagogical fidelity and operational excellence. The Montessori Learning Community will aim to support families from conception through 18 years of meaningful engagement. Amy will bring her depth of experience in both the private and public school sectors to orient all practice towards human development and learning and remove as many constraints to the developmental spectrum as possible.
1. By July 15th: Develop two 501c3 organizations
a. Establish by-laws, articles of incorporation
b. Distinguish the needed structure between ECE and K-12 education institutions.
2. By August 15: Develop a memorandum of understanding with Great Work Inc. documenting partnership and relationship elements between the two organizations.
3. By August 1: Investigate charter school option
a. Alternative assessment models documented and considered.
b. Make connections within Jefferson County District
4. Prepare charter application for September 2015
a. Develop sustainability model, budget and operational plan
b. Employ National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector to help with Application assistance.
c. Document waivers necessary to implement the best possible Montessori Scientific Pedagogy in the public sector
5. By July 1, 2016: Document and participate in the Leadership Fellowship project at Great Work
a. Help document and facilitate the pilot project.
6. By January 15, 2016 Advertise, open and operate a small Montessori Learning Community.
The question of James Walton’s extensive fiscal involvement in attempting to establish a Colorado charter school raises the question of whether any school so dependent upon the financial largesse of a single individual actually qualifies as a public school according to Colorado law.
If GWMS depends upon financing from James Walton, then GWMS arguably fits the definition of a private school as noted in Colorado law:
“Private school” means a primary or secondary educational institution for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade or any portion thereof that may or may not have attained nonprofit status, that does not receive state funding through the “Public School Finance Act of 1994”, article 54 of this title, and that is supported in whole or in part by tuition payments or private donations. [Emphasis added.]
James Walton has created the nonprofit GWEH through which to funnel/disguise his own personal financing, and examination of the GWEH 2014 tax form clearly shows that GWEH draws its principal funding from one man: James Walton.
Thus, one could argue that any funding or property given by GWEH to the charter school, GWMS, fits the definition of financing contributed by a “private donor” despite the fact that James Walton’s money has been laundered through a nonprofit of his own creation.
James Walton is hiding his involvement with GWMS because his involvement is oversized.