The BASIS mythologyJanuary 21, 2016
Time to be the Greek Nemesis to BASIS’ God-like Tyche image. BASIS schools have very high standards, but how they succeed is an open question that Dr. Peter Bezenson, CEO of BASIS Schools, omits in “10 reasons BASIS succeeds in Arizona.” Though he suggests BASIS students reach high standards, enrollment reports instead show that BASIS works off an attrition model. For instance, in 2010 BASIS Scottsdale’s 8th grade had 96 students. By 2014 when that cohort reached 12th grade, it had plummeted to 44 students. This pattern is typical of BASIS.
BASIS also has extremely high administrative costs. Annual financial reports show that BASIS Scottsdale has administrative costs that are 80 percent of its total teacher salaries. Some BASIS schools’ administrative costs are even higher (BASIS Ahwatukee adminstrative costs are about the same as their total teacher salaries).
By contrast ASU Preparatory Phoenix puts twice as much into teacher salaries as administrative costs. The best illustration of putting money in the classroom are traditional public schools. Scottsdale Unified puts four times as much money into teacher salaries as it does administrative costs.
BASIS students do extremely well, but is it largely because the students who stay at BASIS are the ultimate cream of the crop? And taxpayers deserve a better accounting of their financial model.