by David Safier
For anyone interested in the financial well being of the for-profit, online-school corporation K12 Inc. (local school, Arizona Virtual Academy), after the stock plummeted 40% two weeks ago, it made a feeble attempt at recovery from its $17.60 low -- it climbed all the way back to $19.01 -- but today it ended at $17.90.
Short snapshots like this don't mean much, but it does say the market is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the corporation. It didn't hit earnings projections and says it's going to be low again next quarter. Then there was that monumental stock short by hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, who created a devastating 120 page PowerPoint presentation laying out his case for why K12 Inc. gives students a lousy education and is a lousy financial risk. And then there's the fact that K12 Inc. has gotten pretty much nothing but bad press since . . . since almost forever. It may come back, but only if it can replace the 50,000 students it loses every year -- about a third to a half of its students leave -- and add another 10,000 or so on top of that. Finding new customers when your reputation is in the gutter is a tough proposition.