School Daze

A Kansas City charter school operated by San Diego-based School Futures Research Foundation, which is backed by South Bay billionaire John Walton, has flunked a state-university audit and may be forced to close unless it cleans up its act, reports the Kansas City Star. The school, the Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology, and its manager, School Futures Research, are under fire from Central Missouri State University, which acts as local sponsor for charter schools in the area. According to the audit conducted by the university, Banneker failed to follow accounting procedures. The school also had "persistent and pervasive problems" making payments to its health insurance company and Southwestern Bell, among others. "We do not want to see (Banneker), or any other Kansas City charter school, fail," CMSU officials wrote in a letter last month to Leslie Riggs, the Banneker school board president. "However, it is not in the best interests of the children to be exposed to environments not conducive to learning, to personal risk because appropriate background checks were not completed, or educational risks because the [Banneker] board, administrators or [School Futures Research] officials have not been fiscally responsible." Don Gill, vice president for educational operations at School Futures Research was quoted by the Star as saying that foundation staff would travel to Kansas City to look into the situation. "We're taking all appropriate and legitimate actions to resolve these issues," Gill told the paper. "It's our intent to have a collaborative relationship with Central Missouri State University," Gill said.

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