Cloudy Futures

A Kansas City school run by the School Futures Research Foundation, a Mission Valley-based nonprofit heavily backed by billionaire Wal-Mart heir and Bonita resident John Walton, has had its charter revoked. In an attempt to save money, the foundation failed to apply for a school-occupancy permit, instead telling building officials that its building, a former convent, would be used as a church, reports the Kansas City Star. After renovations were completed, the job never passed city inspections, according to documents reviewed by the newspaper. Those were the major factors in rejection of the school's charter by the Central Missouri State University, the school's official sponsor. Eugene Ruffin, who until recently ran the foundation, told the paper that the snafu "wasn't nefarious. It was attempting to continue the school year in the understanding that certain permits needed to be gotten. We were in San Diego, and we were relying on people in Kansas City to deal with things there. But I'm not trying to pawn off responsibility." Ruffin has also run into controversy in Sacramento, where another charter school foundation he is connected with, Good Schools for All, was accused of failing to perform criminal-background checks on its employees. According to its tax returns, the Walton Family Foundation of Little Rock, Arkansas, has contributed $8,433,920 to the School Futures Research Foundation.

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