Primavera charter CEO gets $8.8M despite having Arizona’s third-highest dropout rate

By Craig Harris for The Arizona Republic

By most academic measures, Primavera online charter school is a failure.

Its student-to-teacher ratio far exceeds that of traditional public schools, according to state records.

On recently released state standardized tests, less than a quarter of its students passed math and about a third passed English, both below the state average.

And 49 percent of Primavera students end up dropping out, 10 times the state average.

But by another measure, Primavera is an unmitigated success: making money.

Beginning in 2012, the school began shifting large shares of its annual $30 million-plus allotment of state funding away from instruction and into stocks, bonds, mortgage-backed securities and real estate.

That year, 70 percent, or $22.4 million, of its state funding went into its growing investment portfolio — instead of efforts to raise test scores, reduce class sizes, or address an exploding dropout rate that is now the state’s third-highest.

By 2015, the Primavera investment fund had reached $36 million. Then, the business went private.

Damian Creamer, the school’s 48-year-old founder and chief executive, later got an $8.8 million “shareholder distribution” from the for-profit company that now runs Primavera, an audit filed with the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools shows.

Read more here.

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