Hot News: K12, Inc. (NYSE:LRN), Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), Media General Inc (NYSE:MEG), SolarCity Corporation (NASDAQ:SCTY), Marketo, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKTO)

Hot News: K12, Inc. (NYSE:LRN), Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), Media General Inc (NYSE:MEG), SolarCity Corporation (NASDAQ:SCTY), Marketo, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKTO)

K12, Inc. (NYSE:LRN) on Wednesday reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $14.3 million. On a per-share basis, the Herndon, Virginia-based company said it had profit of 37 cents. The online education company posted revenue of $221.3 million in the period. K12 expects full-year revenue in the range of $205 million to $215 million.
K12, Inc. (NYSE:LRN)’s stock on 27 April traded at beginning with a price of $11.05 and when day-trade ended the stock finally increased 15.90% to end at $12.10. K12, Inc. (NYSE:LRN)’s showed weekly performance of 18.16%.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) Founder & Chairman, Leonard Riggio, said he will retire as chairman of the company following the annual shareholder meeting currently planned for September, and intends to remain on its board of directors. “I’ve done everything I have wanted to do in business and now it is time for me to pursue the many other endeavors related to my philanthropic and social interests,” Riggio said.
On Wednesday Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS)’s shares closed at $12.36. Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) monthly performance stands at 0.53% while its year to date performance is 46.13%.

Media General Inc (NYSE:MEG) will report its first quarter 2016 earnings results before the market opens on May 6, 2016. The Company will host a conference call to discuss the earnings release that morning at 10:00 a.m. (ET). The conference call-in number is 1-888-218-8172 for U.S. callers and 1-913-312-0391 for international callers.
Media General Inc (NYSE:MEG) shares decreased -0.34% on last trading day to close the day at $17.35. Company price to sale ratio is 1.70 and has 0.90% insider ownership. Media General Inc (NYSE:MEG) belongs to Services sector.

SolarCity Corporation (NASDAQ:SCTY) announced that it will issue its first quarter 2016 earnings report after the market’s close on Monday, May 9, 2016. A conference call has been scheduled to discuss these results at 2:00 p.m. (Pacific Time).

On last trading day SolarCity Corporation (NASDAQ:SCTY) increased 0.94% to close at $33.31. SCTY is -5.00% away from its 52 week high and is moving 47.30% ahead of its 52 week low. SolarCity Corporation (NASDAQ:SCTY) return on investment (ROI) is -17.40% while return on equity (ROE) is -7.30%.

Marketo, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKTO) on Tuesday reported a loss of $18.4 million in its first quarter. The San Mateo, California-based company said it had a loss of 42 cents per share. Losses, adjusted for stock option expense and amortization costs, came to 17 cents per share. The results matched Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was also for a loss of 17 cents per share.
Marketo, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKTO) on Wednesday closed at $20.73. Stock institutional ownership is 96.00% while insider ownership includes 1.40%. Marketo, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKTO) distance from 50-day simple moving average (SMA50) is 13.13%.

Maine’s new virtual charter school sees 25% enrollment drop since opening

The Maine Charter School Commission may explore ways to better inform students about what to expect, perhaps with a ‘tryout’ week.

Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Maine’s newest charter school, Maine Virtual Academy, has seen 25 percent of its student body withdraw from the school since it opened this fall and continues to have a high number of “truants” who are not logging on enough for their lessons, school officials say.

At the 90-day mark for the school year, 76 students in the initial class of 297 had left the school, according to a Dec. 31 report by three members of the Maine Charter School Commission who are assigned to oversee the school.

On Tuesday, commission Chairwoman Shelley Reed said representatives of K12 Inc., the for-profit online education company that was contracted to provide Maine Virtual Academy’s curriculum, told the commission they should expect to see an initial 20 percent to 25 percent withdrawal rate.

But Reed said the commission may explore ways to better inform incoming families about what to expect, to lower the withdrawal rate. Suggestions include requiring students to take a “tryout week” in the school.

“People have to have a general understanding of what to anticipate,” she said, after the commission’s regular monthly meeting at the State House.

“We need to find a better way,” said commission member Jana Lapoint, agreeing that a tryout period is a good idea. “Maybe a better screening job.”

Maine Virtual Academy board member Peter Mills said Tuesday that school representatives explain to prospective students and families what the school will be like, but the school must, by Maine law, accept any applicant. As more successful students return in subsequent years, the withdrawal rate is expected to decline, he said.

Mills said Tuesday that some students left because they weren’t prepared for a virtual school experience, which requires each student to log on from home, be self-directed and work closely with an at-home learning coach, usually a parent or relative. The school, like all charters, has attracted students who are unhappy with their previous schooling, or have had trouble at previous schools, he said.

“We’re dealing with a certain segment of the student population that has apparently got some problems and they have come to us as a last resort …” he said, adding, “I’m deeply concerned about this phenomenon.”

Supporters of virtual schools say they are good for students who may not fit in at traditional schools, such as athletes in training or students who have been bullied or have special needs. But virtual charter schools also have drawn criticism, in part because local school boards outsource their management to for-profit companies that are beholden to shareholders.

Maine Virtual Academy holds exit interviews with departing students, and reports those results to the commission. That information includes how long the student was enrolled, their reasons for leaving and where they will go to school next. The information wasn’t available for public release Tuesday because students’ names and other identifying information hadn’t been removed, said Bob Kautz, the commission’s executive director.

Some students who were listed as having dropped out never even logged on – so they effectively never attended the school but are still registered as withdrawals, he noted.

Mills didn’t have details from the exit interviews, but the board had requested that information from school officials.

Maine Virtual Academy has a contract with K12 Inc. of Herndon, Virginia, the nation’s largest online education company, for academic services. The state’s other virtual charter school, Maine Connections Academy, contracts its services from Connections Academy, a division of Maryland-based Connections Education, a for-profit company that is owned by Pearson PLC in London, a multinational corporation that formulates standardized tests and publishes textbooks for many schools in the United States.

A spokesman for K12 Inc. didn’t return calls Tuesday regarding the national average for the first-year withdrawal rate at their other schools nationwide.

According to a research study in July 2012 by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, virtual schools tend to have higher withdrawal rates than physical schools, indicating parents may see virtual schools as a temporary service. Citing a K12 Inc. report on student performance, the study said that 23 percent of students in K12 schools around the country were enrolled for less than a year and 67 percent had been enrolled for fewer than two years.

The withdrawal rate at Maine’s other virtual charter school, Maine Connections Academy, was 11 percent 90 days after it opened in the fall of 2014. This year, its 90-day withdrawal rate had dropped to 7 percent.

Mills said K12 provided the school with a locally hired family support liaison at no cost whose responsibility is to support the students and family, and address the withdrawal and truancy issue.

The school’s exact truancy rate was not available Tuesday, commissioners said.

The school also is struggling to get students tested, officials said. Only about 60 percent of students this fall took the NWEA test, which is supposed to be used to set a baseline for assessing student growth – a key factor in evaluating whether a charter school is successful and whether its contract with the state should be renewed.

Mills said that he thought the testing rate was related to the issues with the truancy and withdrawal rate, and that many of the families who are attracted to charter schools also dislike standardized testing and traditional education.

Commission chairwoman Reed said the commission intends to request more data from Maine Virtual Academy and continue site visits and meetings.

The school has kept a steady enrollment because it filled vacant positions with students on a waiting list, Mills said. That means its overall enrollment, used to calculate state payments, has not changed significantly and there is minimal impact on its budget.

While state funding for Maine students follow the student, there is no significant impact financially on MVA students’ traditional school districts if they return, because the state budgets payments based on an estimated enrollment for the school year, and then on actual headcounts of students Oct. 1.

A 2012 Maine Sunday Telegram investigation of K12 and Connections Education showed that Maine’s digital education policies were being shaped in ways that benefited the two companies, that the companies recruited board members in the state, and that their schools in other states had fared poorly in analyses of student achievement.

Both Maine Connections Academy and Maine Virtual Academy received approval to open only after significantly changing their business plans to require more direct management by the Maine-based boards, and decreasing the role and authority of K12 and Connections Education.

Also Tuesday, the commission said the state was withholding $441,000 earmarked for the commission, requiring it to tap into its surplus to make up for a higher-than-expected per-pupil cost.

The state had estimated paying $14 million overall to the charter schools, but the actual cost was $14.7 million. Kautz, the executive director, said the commission could afford the one-time cost while the state Department of Education works out whether the funds were considered a loan to be repaid by the state or a permanent one-time cost to the commission.

Kautz said the main reason for the higher-than-expected costs was that the charter schools enrolled more special education students, who have a higher per-pupil rate – about $8,000 more per student.

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Pension fund won’t appeal K12 ruling

Dec 8, 2014, 12:38pm EST

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A pension fund has not appealed a securities fraud suit against K12 that was dismissed in November.

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The Oklahoma Firefighters Pension Fund had not filed an appeal by a Dec. 5 deadline to a federal judge's ruling dismissing its lawsuit against Herndon-based K12 Inc.

The pension fund filed a class-action securities suit against the online education company in January, alleging corporate fraud in making public statements to investors about its business and financial prospects. The pension fund lost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Law 360, when K21 (NYSE: LRN) announced a drop in enrollment last fall.

That news led to a 38 percent drop in K12 stock.

The pension fund blamed the stock drop in false and misleading statements about K12's business outlook in the months leading up to the drop.

Judge Anthony Trenga dismissed the suit Nov. 5, saying the statements in question were opinions and forecasts, and could not be considered false or misleading under the federal securities laws.

Jeff Clabaugh covers general assignment and provides business coverage for WTOP.

K12 shares jump on new company plans – Businessweek

AP News

K12 shares jump on new company plans

By By The Associated PressJanuary 08, 2014


K12 Inc. shares jumped Wednesday after the online education company said that it plans form a new company with the help of an investor group.

The company said Tuesday that the new company would focus on the expansion and use of technology-based learning programs from pre-kindergarten through college on a global basis. It would do so through the management and expansion of several existing early stage businesses and other investments in the education sector.

K12, based in Herndon, Va., said it will form the new company with an investor group led by Safanad Ltd., an investment firm based in New York and Dubai. The investor group would own a majority stake in the new company. K12 would own an initial minority stake in the company greater than 25 percent.

Video: EADS Shares `Extraordinary’ This Year: Courty

The companies are finalizing agreements and plan to provide additional financial and operational details in the coming weeks.

K12 said that Ron Packard, its founder and former CEO, has resigned from K12 and will lead the new company as its CEO. He will continue to serve on K12’s board. Nate Davis has been appointed as K12’s new CEO and will continue to serve as chairman of its board.

Shares of K12 jumped $1.30, a more than 6 percent gain, to $22.82 by early afternoon. They are still well below their 52-week high of $38.14 hit in September.

Blog: Woody Harrelson Is Crowdfunding His ‘Tree-Free’ Paper Business


Teacher writes of ‘virtual-charter hell’ in Louisiana-connected company | NOLA.com

Teacher writes of ‘virtual-charter hell’ in Louisiana-connected company

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By Danielle Dreilinger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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Oregon educator Darcy Bedortha spent 15 months in “virtual-charter hell” teaching for K12, an online education company with a foothold in Louisiana. The company runs the 1,795-student Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy for a nonprofit board and offers 21 free-standing classes through the state’s Course Choice mini-voucher program.

“While I had misgivings about the nature of the school, I thought perhaps if I were diligent, I could serve my students well,” Bedortha wrote Monday in a long Education Week blog.

Students cycled in and out of the courses, Bedortha wrote. They failed tests, disappeared, skipped the virtual “class time” and wrote about the violence in their lives, needing support she could not give them. The teachers were underpaid and barely had any actual teaching time, while management talked only of test scores and how to enroll more students.

“At first the marketing focus of the conversations turned my stomach, and then it made me furious,” she wrote. She eventually quit, feeling the company was taking advantage of poor families desperate for better academic options.

Course Choice pays for students to take as many as five classes if they attend a C-, D- or F-rated school, or if their A- or B-rated school does not offer the class they want. Questions over how to fund Course Choice delayed negotiations over Louisiana’s entire school funding formula, which goes to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Jan. 14.

Read Bedortha’s account.

The Center for Media and Democracy has compiled a list of America’s highest-paid government employees. They are not teachers or nurses or social workers.


“Time and again we’re told that librarians, nurses and teachers are to blame for state and local budget problems,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. “In reality, taxpayers are being duped by corporate CEOs and Wall Street banks that are siphoning money out of our communities for huge salaries and bonus packages.”


CMD writes:


The effort is part of our ongoing new project,OutsourcingAmericaExposed.org, which focuses on 12 firms doing the most to privatize public services.


Today, CMD puts the spotlight on Ron Packard, CEO of K12 Inc., America’s highest paid teacher. 


K12 Inc. is a publicly-traded (NYSE: LRN) for-profit, online education company headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. On its own and as a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), K12 Inc. has pushed a national agenda to replace bricks and mortar classrooms with computers and replace actual teachers with “virtual” ones. As K12 Inc. notes in its most recent 10-K, “most of (its) revenues depend on per pupil funding amounts and payment formulas” from government contracts for virtual public charter schools and “blended schools” (combining online with traditional instruction), among other products. 


From 2009-2013, Packard received $19 million in taxpayer dollars. Not bad for a government employee!
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://dianeravitch.net/2013/11/25/who-are-our-highest-paid-government-employees/

Volusia County Schools Reviewing K12 Teachers

Published on September 13, 2012. Tags: John O’Connor , K12 , StateImpact Florida , Volusia County

By John O’Connor
StateImpact Florida

The Volusia County school district is reviewing online education provider K12 to make sure the company is using teachers who are properly certified, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Related

Coverage of K12 by FCIR and StateImpact Florida.

http://thetruthaboutk12.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/09/

The state is investigating K12, the nation’s largest online educator, over its alleged use of teachers without proper certification.

The county will survey parents of student who took courses through K12 to make sure the listed teacher actually taught the student. Seminole County schools conducted a similar survey earlier this year and found more than a third of parents said the teacher listed did not teach their child.

The Florida Department of Education is investigating Seminole County schools’ allegations the nation’s largest online education company is not using properly certified teachers

As StateImpact Florida and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting told you earlier this week, emails and other documents show K12 employees asking teachers to sign off on students rosters that included students they did not teach.

One teacher was asked to sign a list of 116 students that included just seven students she taught, and objected to signing the roster.

K12 says the company uses certified teachers and that their own review of the Seminole County schools investigation shows the district conclusions were incorrect.

Nearly 200 Volusia County students took courses with K12 last year, according to the News-Journal:

Volusia officials collected information from K12 on Wednesday in which teachers were assigned to local students last school year and will survey parents to see if it matches the teachers who worked with their children, said Gary Marks, director of alternative programs, athletics and security in Volusia County.

K12 offered online classes last school year to 81 full-time virtual students in Volusia and 111 students in the district’s program for homebound and hospitalized students. It collected $530,452 for its services. The company continues to provide services this school year for full-time virtual students in kindergarten through high school, Marks said, but the district’s own Volusia Virtual School has taken over the homebound/hospital program.

K12 is holding a conference call to discuss company earnings this morning and is expected to address the investigation.

Volusia officials collected information from K12 on Wednesday in which teachers were assigned to local students last school year and will survey parents to see if it matches the teachers who worked with their children, said Gary Marks, director of alternative programs, athletics and security in Volusia County.