Has a newly proposed Colorado charter school done “Great Work” at hiding Walton (Walmart) Foundation ties?
As first reported by the Colorado Independent on October 6, the proposed Great Work Montessori charter school appears to have shadowy ties to The Walton Family Foundation. A subsequent Colorado Independent article shines a floodlight into the shadows of deception suggested in the Great Work charter school application.
- Findings from the Jeffco District Accountability Committee raising numerous concerns about governance, budget, academics, and transparency
- Concerns about the relationship between the proposed property owner “TGNA” being a subsidiary of Great Work Education Holdings LLC
- Donations of eyebrow raising sums of money, $1.48 million to Great Work, Inc., and an additional $1.78 million to Great Work Education Holdings LLC, from the Walton Family Foundation
- Doubts about the authenticity of claims that this proposed charter school is a grass roots and parent led effort
- A series of interconnected addresses and interwoven relationships between the numerous Great Work entities
The details presented in the latest Colorado Independent article warrant further reading, and CAREColoradoKids.org strongly encourages our readers to read, and re-read, this information packed story!
Given what appears to be intentionally deceptive complexity of relationships within the Great Work network of companies, CAREColoradoKids.org has developed a “Great Work Network Timeline & Relationship Chart” to help understand how everything is connected.
A comprehensive list of sources are available in this document.
While some of the more intricate details might have slipped through the cracks without a thorough investigation, many of the issues are glaringly obvious. The question remains, why did Jeffco Charter School Achievement Director Tim Matlick not catch any of the following concerns:
- The Article of Incorporation submitted in the charter application are for the WRONG nonprofit! The articles submitted are for Great Work Montessori Learning Community, Inc. – The existing private preschool (one of the many Great Work companies the charter applicants claimed not to be associated with)
- The Articles of Incorporation are incomplete! In fact, they are MISSING the same articles 1-6 that are missing from Great Work Montessori School (their actual Articles of Incorporation), and Great Work Education Holdings, Inc. In fact, these three (supposedly separate and independent companies) share virtually IDENTICAL Articles of Incorporation.
- The property management company, claimed as “TGNA Inc” does not exist. How could Charter School Achievement Director Tim Matlick have missed that the letter from “TGNA Inc” did not include any contact information such as a phone number or email address? Here is a video of what is found when you go to the only address listed for TGNA Inc, 1112 Washington Ave in Golden (Notice the “Great Work” sign):
- Of course, as it turns out, “TGNA Inc.” is actually TGNA Holdings, LLC., a foreign liability holdings company subsidiary of Great Work Education Holdings, Inc.
- The application states that the proposed charter school not only reserves the right to hold governance meetings out of state (a point HIGHLY questionable under Colorado Open Meeting Laws), Article 3 of their bylaws also declares that the principal office of the corporation may also exist out of the state.
- Paul A. Svoboda, a lawyer from Chicago, is the same incorporator for Great Work, Inc., Great Work Montessori School, Great Work Education Holdings, Inc., and Great Work Montessori Learning Community, Inc.
- The original registered agent for Great Work, Inc., Great Work Montessori Learning Community, Inc., and Great Work Education Holdings, Inc., is “The Corporation Company,” which it turns out, is actually a company named Wolters Kluwer (https://ct.wolterskluwer.com/). This company provides services as a registered agent, relaying service of process, legal notices, and state mandates to external companies. Essentially, they act as a legal “paper laundering” service for external companies to act like local businesses.
- Great Work Education Holdings, Inc. listed its address with City of Lakewood as 6001 W. 16th Ave, the same principal address as proposed Great Work Montessori School charter applicant, and other Great Work entities (https://goo.gl/OkgdFL)
- During their presentation to the Jeffco Board of Education, the Great Work Montessori School board suggested that until they are approved with a charter, they are a non existing entity, and they will become a nonprofit when approved (Jeffco BoE October 6, 2016 meeting – timestamp: 2:16:06-2:16:14 and again at 3:01:48-3:02:40). However, the proposed charter school is already an existing nonprofit and was incorporated (again by Paul A. Svoboda) on October 19, 2015. A fact Amy Malik should know as she is listed as the registered agent for this nonprofit.
- Great Work, Inc’s website, Greatworkmontessori.org, is registered to Amy Malik, using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In September of 2015, Great Work, Inc. stated on their website, “Great Work is eager to have an impact on the debate about the goals of public education. We are “growing” our school from one Young Child’s Community and one Primary class opening in January 2016. At the same time we will be gathering support and preparing our petition for Jefferson County Charter approval” (available via website archives 9/24/2015).
- In June of 2015, the Executive Director position for James Walton’s Great Work, Inc. was developed to create the upcoming charter school. Job duties specifically include creating a nonprofit corporation for the charter school, proposing and securing a charter, as well as the more troubling fact that the Great Work, Inc. Executive Director will be charged with “Supervising and supporting the charter school’s principal in the implementation of its curriculum and the achievement of its educational objectives.” (https://goo.gl/Q18HEz)
In the end, the confusing network of Great Work Montessori corporations is stitched together with the fabric provided by James Walton and the Walton Family Foundation. While this might be something that the Jefferson County Public Schools community might have considered, it is something not to be tolerated when presented in a manner designed to deceive.
If there is nothing to hide, there would not be such a coordinated effort to mislead. While it appears that many people have gone to great lengths to give Great Work Montessori School the appearance of being a homegrown charter school, it turns out that it is more than likely just a rollback deal directly off the Walmart shelf.
Shouldn’t Tim Matlick at least check with Target or Kmart to see if they will offer a price match for our children?