Craig Barrett Makes $190,000 As a K12 Inc. Board Member
By David Safier
on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 2:30 PM
Over the years, I’ve written many posts about the shoddy corporate practices and poor student performance at schools run by K12 Inc., the for-profit, publicly traded online education corporation (Its Arizona charter school, Arizona Virtual Academy, has 4,600 students sitting behind their computers at home, if, that is, they actually take the time and effort to log in and do the work). I wrote my most recent post about the corporations’s sinking stock value a few weeks ago. And I’ve written a few times that Arizona’s Craig Barrett sits on K12 Inc.’s Board of Directors. But this is the first time I’ve written about his compensation. For the fiscal year 2015, Barrett received $190,000 from the corporation. Barrett is a very, very busy man with his fingers in a whole lot of pies. You can be certain he didn’t put in 40 hour weeks to earn his Board pay.
Why, you may ask, should we care about Barrett’s involvement in K12 Inc.? The answer is, Barrett is a powerful voice in Arizona education, advocating for what he says are necessary reforms to improve our schools. He’s not shy when it comes to talking about his connections and accomplishments. For instance, he’s happy to announce that he’s President and Chairman of BASIS Schools, Inc., the for-profit Education Management Organization that runs the chain of BASIS schools. But so far as I know, he never talks about his connection to the shoddy, failing K12 Inc. I’ve looked hard on the internet, read his op eds, listened to some of his interviews and speeches. When it comes to K12 Inc. — nothing but crickets. A man as proud of his accomplishments as Barrett should be more open about this aspect of his educational life, and more forthcoming about what he, as a board member, is doing to improve the corporate and educational culture at K12 Inc.
Craig Barrett’s list of connections and accomplishments is vast. He’s the retired CEO of Intel, and he’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars. As I mentioned earlier, he’s President and Chairman of BASIS Schools Inc. He’s also a board member of Achieve, Inc., which was instrumental in creating and promoting the Common Core standards, as well as an influential member of any number of education-related organizations. He travels around the world promoting STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and he’s very outspoken about what he thinks is wrong with Arizona education and what should be done to fix it. His ideas fall squarely in the privatization/”education reform” camp. During Jan Brewer’s governorship, he chaired her Arizona Ready Education Council which worked to steer the state’s education priorities, most of which are being carried forward by Gov. Ducey’s Classrooms First Initiative Council. It’s fair to say he’s the most powerful unelected individual in Arizona education.
So if he sees himself a good-education advocate, especially an outspoken one who touts the successes of BASIS schools as a model for other schools, he should feel a duty to explain the way his $190,000 a year position on the K12 Inc. board is part of his commitment to improving education in Arizona and nationwide. Maybe there’s more value in the corporation’s online school model, which has been so regularly and roundly criticized, even from people within the “education reform” movement, than we know. Maybe he’s working inside the corporation to improve its operations and education delivery system. A man as well spoken as Barrett, a man who writes as well as Barrett, a man who can command a public forum as easily as Barrett, should really make an effort to explain this questionable aspect of his educational involvement.
BASIS BOARD MEMBER Bonus News: How much does Craig Barrett make as President and Chairman of BASIS Schools Inc.? I don’t know, because it isn’t a matter of public record. BASIS Schools Inc. is a for-profit Education Management Organization, so, though nearly all of its income is taxpayer money which the state gives to its charter schools, once the money that flows from the state budget to charter schools is sent upstairs and hidden behind a for-profit pay wall, it disappears from view. We don’t know if Barrett and other board members are paid, and if so, how much. We have no idea how much money BASIS founders Michael and Olga Block make. We used to know back when BASIS was entirely nonprofit and the Blocks had to report their salaries on the nonprofit’s publicly available 990 tax forms, but no more.
But it’s interesting to see who sits on the board of BASIS Schools, Inc. Of course, there’s Craig Barrett, a man whose political and educational priorities lean conservative. And there’s co-founder Michael Block, who has worked as a consultant for ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), an organization whose main mission is to create conservative legislation which can become state law across the country. Also sitting on the seven member board is Clint Bolick, whom Gov. Ducey just appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court. Bolick is currently the head of the Goldwater Institute’s constitutional litigation team. Another board member, Terry Sarvas, is a member of the Goldwater Institute, and yet another, Steve Twist, is a founder of the Goldwater Institute.
BASIS’s conservative credentials run wide and deep — which is fine, of course, perfectly acceptable, but well worth noting.
I am sure if you ask the BASIS bunch to work for nothing to support select student success, they would. After all the 1100 local PUBLIC school board members in 223 publically elected and transparent school districts in Arizona, DO work for zero dollars.
on 01/12/2016 at 7:54 AM
It’s time for more transparency in the Charter for profit school industry. After all these are taxpayer dollars, how much is spent in the classroom vs. profit? Who knows ?
I worked as an engineering consultant for many years most often on public projects. We had to disclose, salary info, overhead rates, cost data, profit and so forth. Why? Because public money was involved.
on 01/12/2016 at 8:29 AM
Sound like Mr. Barrett has set himself up with a pretty substantial retirement at taxpayers expense. I do not need to give you a lesson in civics but in order to put a stop to this rape of state revenues is very simple. A small change in the leadership of the State Senate. Senator Marco Rubio is absolutely correct when he defends himself for missing sessions of the United States Senate. Notwithstanding the rules of the U. S. Senate it’s a numbers game, it is not the number of NOs that pass legislation, it is the number of Yes votes. While it is true he is collecting pay for being a Senator, if he is going to vote NO, so what if he isn’t there. It is the 51 YES votes that passes legislation. Why is this important? Here in Arizona it is 31 Yes votes in the State House and 16 Yes votes in the State Senate. Right now the State Senate is split 17 Republican State Senators and 13 Democrats. That means a change of only four state senators and the control of the State Senate shifts to the Democrats. The committee majorities would be Democrat and the flow of legislation would be in the hands of the New Democrat power structure. That means without the approval of the State Senate no budget, no new laws or changes to current laws could take place. Before anything goes to the Governor for a signature to become law BOTH houses of the legislature must be in agreement. Getting back to Mr. Barrett and publicly fund education systems, no money would flow, no formula of distribution could be decided until the 16 Democrats in control of the State Senate voted YES. See how powerful only a change of four State Senators would be. With one or the other bodies of the State Legislature in control of the Democratic members, things could and would get done, but the name of the game then would be compromise. Working together to draft bills that could pass both house and then be sent to the Governor to become law. The Governor could of course veto the legislative action, then more compromise would be necessary to craft legislation but it sure would beat the five or six legislative kingpins dictating budget and other public decisions from a broom closet of the State Capitol Building which by the way doesn’t even belong to the state anymore. One state senate change to start with would be in Legislative District 11, North Pima and Pinal Counties. State Senator Steve Smith with his radical ideology desperately needs to be replaced. A very qualified and highly experienced in public affairs candidate has stepped forward named Ralph Atchue. Mr. Atchue is currently Secretary/Treasurer of the Casa Grande Democrats
club. There is one recommendation only three to go. Wow, sounds simple doesn’t it, instead of tax cuts for the rich and powerful special interests, a new day, taxpayer funds invested in Arizona families and especially our kids. Educated and job trained citizens to bring economic prosperity to a flourishing and thriving Arizona.
on 01/12/2016 at 8:38 AM
$190K. Nothing close to the annual comp K12’s CEO tried to shovel pass the shareholders…
on 01/12/2016 at 9:19 AM
This is the first time I have ever seen a salary of a charter school administrator published. Since charter schools are taxpayer funded, it would be good to see all administrative salaries published every year with the same formal transparency as public schools. Back to 1994 would be even better, whether the school failed, or whether the administrator retired with a golden parachute of his/her own design. When you read and watch mainstream news reporting administrative overhead not only as a percentage but also in dollar amounts, why have “reporters” refused to report charter salaries for so many years?
on 01/14/2016 at 8:27 AM
David Safier wrote a short article about the “real” Craig Barrett in 2013 including this
“… by Barrett, who stays under the radar except when he helped campaign against Prop 204, the one cent sales tax for education. But his real power isn’t in swaying public opinion. It comes from whispering in Governor Brewer’s ear and steering the legislature toward adopting his educational ideas ie:
Don’t add a penny to K-12 school funding. Freeze it right where it is, even though we’re spending about 20 percent less than five years ago and we’re near the bottom of the nation in per-student funding.
Send more money to charter schools. That, of course, would mean less for district schools. And districts can forget about trying to pass bonds or budget overrides. Those funding options would be wiped out. But charters would still be able to float bonds to build new schools. So if Arizona’s student population goes up, districts would have no way to handle the overflow, and charters would be more than happy to step in and fill the void.
Set teacher salaries based on student performance, not experience or education. Those lucky teachers in high-performing, high-rent districts could expect their salaries to climb at the expense of teachers in low-income areas. And schools, like teachers, would get performance bonuses, meaning those same high-rent districts would find themselves with extra cash while districts with low-income students who need the most resources would see their allotments shrink. And if any district slips into failing territory, the state would take it over. No extra money would go along with the takeover, just loss of local control.”
Now we are dealing with Prop123, that will lead to the death of public instruction in our state.
on 01/14/2016 at 1:12 PM
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