Quiver Quantitative

Risk Factors Dashboard

Once a year, publicly traded companies issue a comprehensive report of their business, called a 10-K. A component mandated in the 10-K is the ‘Risk Factors’ section, where companies disclose any major potential risks that they may face. This dashboard highlights all major changes and additions in new 10K reports, allowing investors to quickly identify new potential risks and opportunities.

Risk Factors - LRN

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

Risk Factors Summary

The following summary description sets forth an overview of the material risks we are exposed to in the normal course of our business activities. The summary does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full risk factor discussion immediately following this summary description. Our business, results of operations and financial conditions, as well as your investment in our common stock, could be materially and adversely affected by any of the following material risks:

The majority of our revenues come from our school-as-a-service offering and depends on per pupil funding amounts and payment formulas remaining near levels existing at the time we execute service agreements with the schools we serve;
The inability to predict how the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our business;
Any failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations, the enactment of new laws or regulations, poor academic performance or misconduct by us or operators of other virtual public schools;
Opponents of public charter schools could prevail in challenging the establishment and expansion of such schools through the judicial process;
Disputes over our inability to invoice and receive payments for our services due to ambiguous enabling legislation and interpretive discrepancies by regulatory authorities;
Any failure to renew an authorizing charter for a virtual or blended public school;
Actual or alleged misconduct by current or former directors, officers, key employees or officials;
Changes in the objectives or priorities of the independent governing bodies of the schools we serve;
Any failure to renew a contract for a school-as-a-service offering, which is subject to periodic renewal;
Schools we serve or the programs we offer may fail to enroll or re-enroll a significant number of students;
The enrollment data we present may not full capture trends in our business performance;
Our marketing efforts may not be effective;
The student demographics of the schools we serve can lead to higher costs;
The ability to meet stat accountability testing standards and achieve parent and student satisfaction;
Ongoing challenges due to a transition from a federally mandated for curriculum standards and assessments to individual state determinations under the ESSA;
Risks due to mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures;
Our business could be negatively affected as a result of actions by activist stockholders;
Market demand for online options in public schooling may decrease or not continue, or additional states may not authorize or adequately fund virtual or blended public schools;
Increasing competition in the education industry sectors that we serve;

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The continuous evolution of regulatory frameworks on the accessibility of technology and curriculum;
Differences between our quarterly estimates and the actual funds received and expenses incurred by the schools we serve;
Seasonal fluctuations in our business;
Our ability to create new products, expand distribution channels and pilot innovative educational programs;
Our ability to recruit, train and retain quality certified teachers;
Higher operating expenses and loss of management flexibility due to collective bargaining agreements;
Our reliance on third-party service providers to host some of our solutions;
Any problems with our Company-wide ERP system;
Our ability to maintain and enhance our product and service brands;
Our ability to protect our valuable intellectual property rights, or lawsuits against us alleging the infringement of intellectual property rights of others;
Any legal liability from the actions of third parties;
Any failure to maintain and support customer facing services, systems, and platforms;
Any failure to prevent a cybersecurity incident affecting our systems, or any significant interruption in the operation of our data centers or enrollment centers;
Our reliance on the Internet to enroll students and to deliver our products and services to children;
Scale and capacity limits on some of our technology, transaction processing systems and network hardware and software;
Failure to comply with data privacy regulations;
Any failure by the single vendor we use to manage, receive, assemble and ship our learning kits and printed educational materials;
Our ability to keep pace with changes in our industry and advancements in technology;
Our ability attract and retain key executives and skilled employees; and
Our ability to obtain additional capital in the future on acceptable terms.

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Risks Related to Government Funding and Regulation of Public Education

The majority of our revenues come from our comprehensive school-as-a-service offering in both the General Education and Career Learning markets and depends on per pupil funding amounts and payment formulas remaining near the levels existing at the time we execute service agreements with the schools we serve. If those funding levels or formulas are materially reduced or modified due to economic conditions or political opposition, or new restrictions are adopted or payments delayed, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected.

The public schools we contract with are financed with government funding from federal, state and local taxpayers. Our business is primarily dependent upon those funds with a majority of our revenue coming from our comprehensive school-as-a-service offerings in both the General Education and Career Learning markets. Budget appropriations for education at all levels of government are determined through a legislative process that may be affected by negative views of for-profit education companies, recessionary conditions in the economy at large, or significant declines in public school funding. Budget appropriations for education at all levels of government are determined through a legislative process, which may be affected by negative views of for-profit education companies, recessionary conditions in the economy at large, or significant declines in public school funding. The results of federal and state elections can also result in shifts in education policy and the amount of funding available for various education programs.

The political process and potential variability in general economic conditions, including due to the COVID-19 pandemic, create a number of risks that could have an adverse effect on our business including the following:

Legislative proposals can and have resulted in budget or program cuts for public education, including the virtual and blended public schools and school districts we serve, and therefore have reduced and could potentially limit or eliminate the products and services those schools purchase from us, causing our revenues to decline. From time to time, proposals are introduced in state legislatures that single out virtual and blended public schools for disparate treatment.
Economic conditions, including current and future business disruptions and debt and equity market volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, could reduce state education funding for all public schools or cause a delay in the payment of government funding to schools and school districts or a delay in payments to us for our products or services, the effects of which could be disproportionate for the schools we serve. Our annual revenue growth is impacted by changes in federal, state and district per pupil funding levels. For example, due to the budgetary problems arising from the 2008 recession, many states reduced per pupil funding for public education affecting many of the public schools we serve, including even abrupt midyear cuts in certain states, which in some cases were retroactively applied to the start of the school year as a result of formulaic adjustments. In addition, as we enter into service and product agreements with multiple schools in a single state, the aggregate impact of funding reductions applicable to those schools could be material. In addition, as we enter into service and product agreements with multiple managed public schools in a single state, the aggregate impact of funding reductions applicable to those schools could be material. For example, we have agreements with 13 schools in California and while each school is independent with its own governing authority and no single school in California accounts for more than 10% of our revenue, regulatory actions that affect the level or timing of payments for all similarly situated schools in that state could adversely affect our financial condition. We have agreements with 13 schools in California, for example, and while each school is independent with its own governing authority and no single school in California accounts for more than 10% of our revenue, regulatory actions that affect the level or timing of payments for all similarly situated schools in that state could adversely affect our financial condition. The specific level of federal, state and local funding for the coming years is not yet known for specific states and, when taken as a whole, it is reasonable to believe that a number of the public schools we serve could experience lower per pupil enrollment funding, while others may increase funding, as economic conditions or political conditions change.
As a public company, we are required to file periodic financial and other disclosure reports with the SEC. This information may be referenced in the legislative process, including budgetary considerations, related to the funding of alternative public school options, including virtual public schools and blended schools. The disclosure of this information by a for-profit education company, regardless of parent satisfaction and student performance, may nonetheless be used by opponents of virtual and blended public schools to propose funding reductions or restrictions.
From time to time, government funding to schools and school districts is not provided when due, which sometimes causes the affected schools to delay payments to us for our products and services. These payment delays have occurred in the past and can deprive us of significant working capital until the matter is resolved, which could hinder our ability to implement our growth strategies and conduct our business. For example, in fiscal year 2016, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was unable to approve a budget, including funding for public school education, and thus the Agora Cyber Charter School received no funds and could not make

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timely contractual payments to the Company for our products and services, even though we continued to incur the costs to keep the school operating.

We cannot predict with any certainty whether and to what degree the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and reactions thereto will continue and how our business and results of operations have been impacted or will be impacted in the future.

While we have observed increasing demand from prospective students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot estimate the specific impact of COVID-19 on these demand trends, and there is no assurance that we will continue to experience current demand levels as the COVID-19 pandemic tapers, particularly as vaccinations become widely available. As a result, we expect to face difficulties in accurately forecasting financial results.

Failure to comply with regulatory requirements, poor academic performance, or misconduct by us or operators of other virtual public schools could tarnish the reputation of all the school operators in our industry, which could have a negative impact on our business or lead to punitive legislation.

As a non-traditional form of public education, online public school operators will be subject to scrutiny, perhaps even greater than that applied to traditional brick and mortar public schools or public charter schools. Not all virtual public schools will have successful academic programs or operate efficiently, and new entrants may not perform well either. Such underperformance could create the impression that virtual schooling is not an effective way to educate students, whether or not our learning systems achieve satisfactory performance. Consistently poor academic performance, or the perception of poor performance, could also lead to closure of an online public school or termination of an approved provider status in some jurisdictions, or to passage of legislation empowering the state to restructure or close low-performing schools. For example, a 2016 Nevada law expanded a charter authorizer’s ability to terminate a charter based upon academic performance or to reconstitute a school’s governing board, and a 2013 Tennessee law with academic performance criteria applying only to virtual schools.

Beyond academic performance issues, some virtual school operators, including us, have been subject to governmental investigations alleging, among other things, false attendance reporting, the misuse of public funds or failures in regulatory compliance. These allegations have attracted significant adverse media coverage and have prompted legislative hearings and regulatory responses. Investigations have focused on specific companies and individuals, or even entire industries, such as the industry-wide investigation of for-profit virtual schools initiated by the Attorney General of California in 2015. The precise impact of these governmental investigations on our current and future business is difficult to discern, in part because of the number of states in which we operate, the range of purported malfeasance or performance issues involved, or interest by state regulatory authorities. If these situations, or any additional alleged misconduct, cause all virtual public schools to be viewed by the public and/or policymakers unfavorably, we may find it difficult to expand into new states or renew our contracts with our clients.

Opponents of public charter schools, including virtual and blended, have sought to challenge the establishment and expansion of such schools through the judicial process. If these interests prevail, it could damage our ability to sustain or grow our current business or expand in certain jurisdictions.

We have been, and will likely continue to be, subject to public policy lawsuits by those who do not share our belief in the value of this form of public education or the involvement of for-profit education management companies. Whether we are a named party to these lawsuits, legal claims have involved challenges to the constitutionality of authorizing statutes, methods of instructional delivery, funding provisions and the respective roles of parents and teachers that can potentially affect us. For example, the Louisiana Association of Educators, an affiliate of a national teachers union, sought to terminate funding on state constitutional grounds to certain types of charter schools through the judicial process (including to a public school we serve), and while the teachers union was initially successful, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed that decision in March 2018. See Iberville Parish School Board v. Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2018 WL 1319404 (March 13, 2018).

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Should we fail to comply with the laws and regulations applicable to our business, such failures could result in a loss of public funding and an obligation to repay funds previously received, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Once authorized by law, virtual and blended public schools are generally subject to extensive regulation, as are the school districts we serve.Once authorized by law, virtual and blended public schools are generally subject to extensive regulation, as are the school districts served by our Institutional business. These regulations cover specific program standards and financial requirements including, but not limited to: (i) student eligibility standards; (ii) numeric and geographic limitations or caps on enrollments; (iii) state-specific curriculum requirements and standards; (iv) restrictions on open-enrollment policies by and among districts; (v) prescribed teacher to student ratios and teacher funding allocations from per pupil funding; (vi) teacher certification and reporting requirements; and (vii) virtual school attendance reporting. These regulations cover specific program standards and financial requirements including, but not limited to: (i) student eligibility standards; (ii) numeric and geographic limitations or caps 30 Table of Contentson enrollments; (iii) state-specific curriculum requirements and standards; (iv) restrictions on open-enrollment policies by and among districts; (v) prescribed teacher to student ratios and teacher funding allocations from per pupil funding; (vi) teacher certification and reporting requirements; and (vii) virtual school attendance reporting. State and federal funding authorities conduct regular program and financial audits of the public schools we serve to ensure compliance with applicable regulations. If a final determination of non-compliance is made, additional funds may be withheld which could impair that school’s ability to pay us for services in a timely manner, or the school could be required to repay funds received during the period of non-compliance. Additionally, the indemnity provisions in our standard service agreements with virtual and blended public schools and school districts may require us to return any contested funds on behalf of the school.

As an emerging form of public education with unique attributes, enabling legislation for online public schools is often ambiguous and subject to discrepancies in interpretation by regulatory authorities, which may lead to disputes over our ability to invoice and receive payments for services rendered.

Statutory language providing for virtual and blended public schools is sometimes interpreted by regulatory authorities in ways that may vary from year to year making compliance subject to uncertainty. More issues normally arise during our first few school years of doing business in a state because such state’s enabling legislation often does not address specific issues, such as what constitutes proper documentation for enrollment eligibility or attendance reporting in a virtual or blended school. From time to time there are changes to the regulators’ approach to determining the eligibility of students for funding purposes. Another issue may be differing interpretations on what constitutes a student’s substantial completion of a semester in a public school or daily attendance requirements. These regulatory uncertainties may lead to disputes over our ability to invoice and receive payments for services rendered or to disputes with auditors of public schools, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. These regulatory uncertainties may lead to disputes over our ability to invoice and receive payments for services rendered or to disputes with auditors of managed public schools, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. For example, in October 2017, the California Department of Education commenced an audit covering, among other things, the average daily attendance records and associated funding provided to the California Virtual Academies (“CAVAs”), dependent on the proper method of counting the time-value and daily engagement of students enrolled in independent study programs provided by non-classroom based charter schools and the regulations applicable to such programs and schools.

The operation of virtual and blended public charter schools depends on the maintenance of the authorizing charter and compliance with applicable laws. If these charters are not renewed, our contracts with these schools would be terminated.

In many cases, virtual and blended public schools operate under a charter that is granted by a state or local authorizer to the charter holder, such as a community group or an established not-for-profit corporation, which typically is required by state law to qualify for student funding. In fiscal year 2021, a majority of our revenue was derived from our comprehensive school-as-a-service offerings in both the General Education and Career Learning markets, the majority of which were virtual and blended public schools operating under a charter. The service and products agreement for these schools is with the charter holder or the charter board. Non-profit public charter schools qualifying for exemption from federal taxation under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) as charitable organizations must also operate on an arms-length basis in accordance with Internal Revenue Service rules and policies to maintain that status and their funding eligibility. In addition, many state public charter school statutes require periodic reauthorization. If a virtual or blended public school we support fails to maintain its tax-exempt status and funding eligibility, fails to renew its charter, or if its charter is revoked for non-performance or other reasons that may be due to actions of the independent charter board completely outside of our control, our contract with that school would be terminated. For example, in fiscal year 2018, the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation terminated the charter of Insight School of Ohio.

Actual or alleged misconduct by current or former directors, officers, key employees or officials could make it more difficult for us to enter into new contracts or renew existing contracts.

If we or any of our current or former directors, officers, key employees, or officials are accused or found to be guilty of serious crimes or civil violations, including the mismanagement or improper accounting of public funds, or

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violations of the federal securities laws, the schools we serve could be barred or discouraged from entering into or renewing service agreements with us. As a result, our business and revenues would be adversely affected.

New laws or regulations not currently applicable to for-profit education companies in the K-12 sector could be enacted and negatively impact our operations and financial results.31 Table of ContentsNew laws or regulations not currently applicable to for-profit education companies in the K-12 sector could be enacted and negatively impact our operations and financial results.

As the provision of online K-12 public education matures, policy or business practice issues may arise that could lead to the enactment of new laws or regulations similar to, or in addition to, laws or regulations applicable to other education industry sectors. For example, for-profit education companies that own and operate post-secondary colleges and programs depend in significant respect on student loans provided by the federal government to cover tuition expenses and income sharing agreements, and federal laws prohibit incentive compensation for success in securing enrollments or financial aid to any person engaged in student recruiting or admission activities. In contrast, while students in virtual or blended public K-12 schools are entitled to a public education with no federal or state loans necessary for tuition, laws could be enacted that make for-profit management companies serving such schools subject to similar recruitment or other restrictions. In keeping with good business practices, we do not award or permit incentive compensation to be paid to our public school program enrollment staff or contractors based on the number of students enrolled. New laws that specifically target for-profit education companies or education management organizations from operating public charter schools could also adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.

Risks Related to Our Business and Our Industry

The schools we contract with and serve are governed by independent governing bodies that may shift their priorities or change objectives in ways that are adverse to us and to the students who attend the school programs we administer, or they may react negatively to acquisitions or other transactions.

We contract with and provide a majority of our products and services to virtual and blended public schools governed by independent boards or similar governing bodies. While we typically share a common objective at the outset of our business relationship, over time our interests could diverge resulting in changes adverse to our business or the students enrolled in those schools. The governing boards of the schools we serve in which we hire the Principal or Head of School (“HoS”) may seek to employ their own HoS as a condition for contract renewal. This decision may potentially reduce the value of the programs they purchase from us by structurally separating the HoS from regular involvement with our virtual school management experts, employee-based professional development programs, and internal understanding of the proprietary curriculum and innovations we develop to improve academic performance. As these independent boards shift their priorities or change objectives, reduce or modify the scope of services and products we provide, or terminate their relationship with us, our ability to generate revenues consistently over time or to improve academic outcomes would be adversely affected.

Our contracts for a school-as-a-service offering are subject to periodic renewal, and each year some of these agreements are set to expire.Our contracts with the managed public schools we serve are subject to periodic renewal, and each year some of these agreements are set to expire. If we are unable to renew several such contracts or if a single significant contract expires during a given year, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow could be adversely affected.

In fiscal year 2021, we had contracts for our school-as-a-service offerings for 77 schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. A portion of these contracts are scheduled to expire in any given year and may not be renewed or may be renewed on terms much less favorable to us. A portion of these Managed Public School contracts are scheduled to expire in any given year and may not be renewed or may be renewed on terms much less favorable to us. Most of these contracts include auto renewal provisions having significant advance notice deadlines. The advance notice provisions are intended to allow sufficient time to engage in renewal negotiations before and during the final year of these contracts. A renewed contract could involve a restructuring of our services and management arrangements that could lower our revenue or even change how revenue and expenses are recognized. When the customer prefers the existing contract terms to be extended, it can elect to disregard the advance notice provision and have the contract automatically renew. If we are unable to renew contracts or if contract renewals have significantly less favorable terms or unbundle previously provided services, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow could be adversely affected.

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If the schools we serve fail to enroll or re-enroll a sufficient number of students, or we fail to enroll a significant number of students in the Career Learning programs for adult learners, our business, financial condition and results of operations will be adversely affected.

A majority of our revenues are a direct function of how many students are enrolled in our school-as-a-service offerings, the number of school districts and students who subscribe to such district programs, and the enrollments in our three international and private pay schools.Our revenues are a direct function of how many students are enrolled in our Managed Public School Programs, the number of school districts and students who subscribe to the programs offered in our Institutional business, and the enrollments in our three international and private pay schools.

Because families have alternative choices both within and outside the public school system for educating their children, it is typical during each school year that some students withdraw from schools using our online education services and switch to their traditional local public schools, other charter school alternatives or private schools.32 Table of ContentsBecause families have alternative choices both within and outside the public school system for educating their children, it is typical during each school year that some students withdraw from schools using our online education services and switch to their traditional local public schools, other charter school alternatives or private schools. While many of our school-as-a-service offerings also accept new student enrollment throughout the year where permitted, generally our average student enrollment declines as the school year progresses such that we serve on average fewer students at the end of any given school year than at the beginning of the year. While many of our Managed Public School Programs also accept new student enrollment throughout the year where permitted, generally our average student enrollment declines as the school year progresses such that we serve on average fewer students at the end of any given school year than at the beginning of the year. If our school-as-a-service offerings experience higher withdrawal rates during the year and/or enroll fewer new students as the year progresses than we have experienced in the past, our revenues, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected. If our Managed Public School Programs experience higher withdrawal rates during the year and/or enroll fewer new students as the year progresses than we have experienced in the past, our revenues, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.

Similarly, at the start of each new school year, students who had remained enrolled through the end of the previous year may have graduated from the terminal grade in a school or have left our school-as-a-service offerings for any number of reasons.Similarly, at the start of each new school year students who had remained enrolled through the end of the previous year may have graduated from the terminal grade in a school or have left our Managed Public School Programs for any number of reasons. To the extent our school-as-a-service offerings do not retain previously enrolled students from the prior year, they must attract new students at the start of the year to sustain their average student enrollment year over year, as well as to grow their enrollment each year, based upon enrollment objectives determined by the governing authority of those schools. To the extent our Managed Public School Programs do not retain previously enrolled students from the prior year, they must attract new students at the start of the year to sustain their average student enrollment year over year, as well as to grow their enrollment each year, based upon enrollment objectives determined by the governing authority of those schools. If the schools we serve in the aggregate are able only to sustain prior year enrollment levels, our revenues may not grow from the prior year, absent improved revenue capture or the addition of new schools. More fundamentally, if average student enrollment at the schools we serve declines from one year to the next, our revenues, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.

We also contract with virtual public schools and school districts to provide marketing and enrollment services, and we provide similar services directly to our international and private pay schools. However, many of these customers are responsible for their own marketing and enrollment activities. Efforts on our part to sustain or increase enrollments in the face of higher student withdrawals or fewer returning students at the start of a school year may lead to higher costs for us, and may adversely affect our operating margin. If we or the virtual public schools and school districts are unsuccessful in marketing plans or enrollment processes for the schools, the average student enrollment at the schools may not grow or could even decline, and adversely affect our revenues, results of operations and financial condition. If we or our Non-managed Public School Program partners are unsuccessful in marketing plans or enrollment processes for the schools, the average student enrollment at the schools may not grow or could even decline, and adversely affect our revenues, results of operations and financial condition.

We also derive revenues from our Galvanize, Tech Elevator and MedCerts offerings to adult learners. The vast majority of the enrollments in these programs are for shorter periods of time, and re-enrollments are not typical due to the nature of these offerings. Thus, we must continually attract and enroll new adult learners in order to maintain our revenues at current levels or grow our revenues. Efforts on our part to sustain or increase enrollments in the face of lower enrollments compared to prior periods may lead to higher costs for us, and may adversely affect our operating margin. If we are unsuccessful in marketing plans or enrollment processes for these programs for adult learners, the average enrollment in our Galvanize, Tech Elevator or MedCerts offerings may not grow or could even decline, which could adversely affect our revenues, results of operations and financial condition. If we or our Non-managed Public School Program partners are unsuccessful in marketing plans or enrollment processes for the schools, the average student enrollment at the schools may not grow or could even decline, and adversely affect our revenues, results of operations and financial condition.

The enrollment data we present is subject to certain limitations and may not fully capture trends in the performance of our business.

We periodically disclose enrollment data for students in our General Education and Career Learning lines of revenue. However, this data may not fully capture trends in the performance of our business for a number of reasons, including:

Enrollments for General Education and Career Learning only include those students in full service public or private programs where Stride provides a combination of curriculum, technology, instructional and support services inclusive of administrative support;
This data includes enrollments for which Stride receives no public funding or revenue;

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No enrollments are included in Career Learning for Galvanize, Tech Elevator or MedCerts; and
Over time a student may move from being counted as a General Education enrollment to being counted as a Career Learning enrollment, or vice versa, depending on the educational choices made by each student, which choices in certain cases may be impacted by counseling from Stride employees, and this may result in enrollment growth in one line of revenue being offset by a corresponding decrease in enrollments for the other line of revenue.

Accordingly, changes in enrollment data may not entirely correspond with changes in the financial performance of our business, and if the mix of enrollments changes, our revenues will be impacted to the extent the average revenues per enrollments are significantly different.

Because the independent governing authorities of our customers may shift priorities or incur new obligations which have financial consequences, we may be exposed to the risk of loss resulting from the nonpayment or nonperformance by our customers and our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could suffer.

If our customers were to cause or be subjected to situations that lead to a weakened financial condition, dispute our invoices, withhold payments, or file for bankruptcy, we could experience difficulty and prolonged delays in collecting receivables, if at all. Any nonpayment or nonperformance by our customers could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. For example, in fiscal year 2017, as the Agora Cyber Charter School continued to operate as a self-managed charter school, it delayed its payments to us and our accounts receivable from the school have grown significantly, resulting in a revised payment schedule agreement, which accompanied a contract extension.

As we continue to refine our marketing efforts, and support the enrollment activities for our school-as-a-service offerings and adult learning programs, changes in our marketing efforts and enrollment activities could lead to a decline in overall enrollment at the schools we serve or at the adult learning programs we offer.As we continue to refine our marketing efforts, and support the enrollment activities for our Managed Public School Programs, changes in our marketing efforts and enrollment activities could lead to a decline in overall enrollment at the schools we serve.

As parents evaluate school choices for their children, we are segmenting our marketing efforts to better attract students who are most likely to benefit from and succeed in virtual education programs and who are likely to remain enrolled with a virtual school over several years.As parents evaluate public school choices for their children, we are segmenting our marketing efforts to better attract students who are most likely to benefit from and succeed in virtual education programs and who are likely to remain enrolled with a virtual school over several years. Our research leads us to believe that students with parents who are active and regularly engaged in their education are more likely to be successful in a virtual school. In some cases, the governing authorities of these schools may request different enrollment policies or criteria. Our marketing efforts, therefore, may not be wholly successful, and could lead to an overall decline in enrollment for our school-as-a-service, thus adversely affecting our revenue, results of operations and financial condition. Our marketing efforts, therefore, may not be wholly successful, and could lead to an overall decline in enrollment for our Managed Public School Programs, thus adversely affecting our revenue and results of operations.

Additionally, for our Galvanize, Tech Elevator and MedCerts offerings to adult learners, we are focusing our marketing and enrollment efforts to identify and attract adult learners in data science, software engineering, healthcare, medical fields, as well as providing staffing and talent development services to employers and government agencies. However, our marketing efforts may not be successful. As a result, our overall enrollment in these adult learning programs may decline and our revenue, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.

The student demographics of the schools we serve can lead to higher costs and affect our ability to sustain or grow our operating income.

The schools we serve are publicly funded and are generally obligated to accept all students meeting state or district criteria for enrollment. Because an online education environment may offer a better educational opportunity for students falling behind grade level, our school-as-a-service offerings have experienced in recent years a higher academically at-risk student population, requiring supplemental student and family support services and closer one-on-one involvement by teachers and school personnel, leading to higher costs to us in providing full management and curriculum services to the schools. Because an online education environment may offer a better educational opportunity for 33 Table of Contentsstudents falling behind grade level, our Managed Public School Programs have experienced in recent years a higher academically at-risk student population, requiring supplemental student and family support services and closer one-on-one involvement by teachers and school personnel, leading to higher costs to us in providing full management and curriculum services to the schools. We consider students academically at-risk if they were not proficient on the previous year’s state assessment, are credit-deficient, have previously dropped out, have failed courses, or score lower than average on diagnostic norm-referenced assessments. Some states have additional or different indicators to determine students who are at risk. These factors are used by the state to identify at-risk students in several states and have been found through research to impact future student performance. The schools we serve also enroll a significant percentage of special needs students with learning and/or physical disabilities, which also adds to the total costs incurred by the schools.

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Education of high school students is generally more costly than K-8 as more teachers with subject matter expertise (e.g., chemistry, calculus) must be hired to support an expansive curriculum, electives, and counseling services. As the relative percentage of high school students increases as part of the total average enrollment in our school-as-a-service offerings, our costs are likely to increase. As the relative percentage of high school students increases as part of the total average enrollment in our Managed Public School Programs, our costs are likely to increase.

As our cost structure evolves due to the demographics, educational profile and mix of the students enrolled in our school-as-a-service offerings, our profit margins may decline, and we may have increasing difficulty in sustaining or growing our operating income commensurate with our revenues.As our cost structure evolves due to the demographics, educational profile and mix of the students enrolled in our Managed Public School Programs, our profit margins may decline, and we may have increasing difficulty in sustaining or growing our operating income commensurate with our revenues.

If student performance falls, state accountability standards are not achieved, teachers or administrators tamper with state test scoring or modified graduation requirements, or parent and student satisfaction declines, a significant number of students may not remain enrolled in a virtual or blended public school that we serve, or charters may not be renewed or enrollment caps could be put in place, or enrollment practices could be limited and our business, financial condition and results of operations will be adversely affected.

The success of our business depends in part on the choice of a family to have their child begin or continue his or her education in a virtual or blended public school that we serve. This decision is based on many factors, including student performance and parent and student satisfaction. Students may perform significantly below state averages or the virtual or blended public school may fail to meet state accountability standards. Like many traditional brick and mortar public schools, not all of the public schools we serve meet the requirements of their applicable accountability frameworks, as large numbers of new enrollments from students underperforming in traditional schools can decrease overall results or the underperformance of any one subgroup can lead to the entire school failing to meet accountability expectations and potentially lead to the school’s closure. Like many traditional brick and mortar public schools, not all of the managed public schools we serve meet the requirements of their applicable accountability frameworks, as large numbers of new enrollments from students underperforming in traditional schools can decrease overall results or the underperformance of any one subgroup can lead to the entire school failing to meet accountability expectations and potentially lead to the school’s closure. For example, in Tennessee, the Commissioner of Education has statutory authority to close a virtual school if an accountability trigger is met. In addition, although serving academically at-risk students is an important aspect of our obligation to educate any child regardless of circumstance, the performance of these students can adversely affect a school’s standing under applicable accountability standards. We expect that, as our enrollments increase and the portion of students that have not used our learning systems for multiple years increases, the average performance of all students using our learning systems may decrease, even if the individual performance of other students improves over time. This effect may also be exacerbated if students enrolled in schools that we provide services to or acquire are predominately below state proficiency standards or experience low graduation rates. For example, at-risk students who attended the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) schools in Ohio which were closed in mid-school year 2017-18 by state regulators, and who then transferred to other public schools, including the Ohio Virtual Academy supported by us, could negatively impact a receiving school’s overall academic performance ratings absent a different accountability measure applicable to such students or waiver of such standards. Moreover, under ESSA, state authorities may change their accountability frameworks in ways that negatively impact the schools we serve.

Students in the school-as-a-service offerings we serve are required to complete standardized state testing, and the frequency and the results of this testing may have an impact on school enrollment.Students in the managed public schools we serve are required to complete standardized state testing, and the frequency and the results of this testing may have an impact on school enrollment. The significant increase of testing undertaken at the state level has led some parents to opt out of state assessments, a parental right which is now codified in the ESSA, thereby resulting in an incomplete and potentially inaccurate assessment of school and student performance. To avoid the consequences of failing to meet applicable required proficiency, growth or accountability standards, teachers or school administrators may engage in improperly altering student test scores or graduation standards especially if teacher performance and compensation are evaluated on these results. Finally, parent and student satisfaction may decline as not all parents and students are able to devote the substantial time and effort necessary to complete our curriculum. A student’s satisfaction may also suffer if his or her relationship with the virtual or blended public school teacher does not meet expectations. If student performance or satisfaction declines, students may decide not to remain enrolled in a virtual or blended public school that we serve and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. If student performance or satisfaction declines, students may decide not to remain enrolled in a virtual or 34 Table of Contentsblended public school that we serve and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

The transition from a federally mandated approach for curriculum standards and assessments to individual state determinations under the ESSA may create ongoing challenges to ensure that our curriculum products align with state requirements, which could possibly cause academic performance to decline and dissatisfaction by our school customers which could limit our growth and profitability.

Under the ESSA, states will set their own curriculum standards in reading, math and science, and the federal government is prohibited from mandating or incentivizing states to adopt any set of particular standards, such as Common Core. States were also given the authority under the ESSA to craft their own assessment programs to measure the

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proficiency of their students for college and career readiness, and may also choose to offer already available nationally recognized assessments at the high school level, such as the SAT or ACT tests. As implementation proceeds at the state level, and use of the assessments previously developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium consortia continues to erode, a multitude of different standards and assessments may emerge and result in temporary misalignments of our curriculum offerings with state standards, cause academic performance to decline, create a need for additional teacher training and product investments, all of which could adversely affect our relationship with public school contracting with us for a school-as-a-service offering and school district customers, financial condition, contract renewals and reputation.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures present many risks, and we may not realize the financial and strategic goals that formed the basis for the transaction.

When strategic opportunities arise to expand our business, we may acquire or invest in other companies using cash, stock, debt, asset contributions or any combination thereof, such as the acquisitions of Galvanize in January 2020, Tech Elevator in November 2020 and MedCerts in November 2020. We may face risks in connection with these or other future transactions, including the possibility that we may not realize the anticipated cost and revenue synergies on a timely basis, or at all, or further the strategic purpose of any acquisition if our forecasts do not materialize.When strategic opportunities arise to expand our business, we may acquire or invest in other companies using cash, stock, debt, asset contributions or any combination thereof, such as the acquisition of Galvanize in January 2020. We may face risks in connection with these or other future transactions, including the possibility that we may not realize the anticipated cost and revenue synergies on a timely basis, or at all, or further the strategic purpose of any acquisition if our forecasts do not materialize. The pursuit of acquisitions and their integrations may divert the resources that could otherwise be used to support and grow our existing lines of business. The combination of two or more independent enterprises is a complex, costly and time-consuming process. The combination of two independent enterprises is a complex, costly and time-consuming process. Acquisitions may create multiple and overlapping product lines that are offered, priced and supported differently, which could cause customer confusion and delays in service. We may have difficulties coordinating sales and marketing efforts to effectively position the combined company’s capabilities. Customers may decline to renew their contracts or the contracts of acquired businesses might not allow us to recognize revenues on the same basis. These transactions and their integrations may also divert our management’s attention and our ongoing business may be disrupted by acquisition, transition or integration activities. In addition, we may have difficulty separating, transitioning and integrating an acquired company’s systems, including but not limited to, financial accounting systems, information technology systems, transaction processing systems, internal controls and standards, and procedures and policies, and the associated costs in doing so may be higher than we anticipate.

There may also be other adverse effects on our business, operating results or financial condition associated with the expansion of our business through acquisitions. We may fail to identify or assess the magnitude of certain liabilities, shortcomings or other circumstances prior to acquiring a company or technology, which could result in unexpected operating expenses, unexpected accounting treatment, unexpected increases in taxes due or a loss of anticipated tax benefits. The acquired companies, including Galvanize, Tech Elevator and MedCerts, may not be able to achieve the levels of revenue, earnings or operating efficiency that we expect. The acquired companies, including Galvanize, may not be able to achieve the levels of revenue, earnings or operating efficiency that we expect. Our use of cash to pay for acquisitions may limit other potential uses of our cash, including investment in other areas of our business, stock repurchases, dividend payments and retirement of outstanding indebtedness. If we issue a significant amount of equity for future acquisitions, existing stockholders may be diluted and earnings per share may decrease. We may pay more than the acquired company or assets are ultimately worth and we may have underestimated our costs in continuing the support and development of an acquired company’s offerings. Our operating results may be adversely impacted by liabilities resulting from a stock or asset acquisition, which may be costly, disruptive to our business, or lead to litigation.

We may be unable to obtain required approvals from governmental authorities on a timely basis, if at all, which could, among other things, delay or prevent us from completing a transaction, otherwise restrict our ability to realize the expected financial or strategic goals of an acquisition or have other adverse effects on our current business and operations. We may face contingencies related to intellectual property, financial disclosures, and accounting practices or internal controls. 35 Table of ContentsWe may face contingencies related to intellectual property, financial disclosures, and accounting practices or internal controls. Finally, we may not be able to retain key executives of an acquired company.

To execute our business plans, we depend upon the experience and industry knowledge of our officers and other key employees, including those who joined us as part of the Galvanize, Tech Elevator, and MedCerts acquisitions.To execute our business plans, we depend upon the experience and industry knowledge of our officers and other key employees, including those who joined us as part of the Galvanize acquisition. The combined company’s success will depend, in part, upon our ability to retain key management personnel and other key employees, some of which may experience uncertainty about their future roles with the combined company as a result of the acquisition. This may have a material adverse effect on our ability to attract and retain key personnel.

The occurrence of any of these risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition or cash flows, particularly in the case of a larger acquisition or several concurrent acquisitions.

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Our business could be negatively affected as a result of actions by activist stockholders, and such activism could impact the trading value of our securities and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Responding to actions by activist stockholders can be costly and time consuming, disrupting our operations and diverting the attention of management and our employees. If activist stockholders were to emerge, their activities could interfere with our ability to execute our strategic plan and divert resources from our business. In addition, a proxy contest for the election of directors at our annual meeting would require us to incur significant legal fees and proxy solicitation expenses and require significant time and attention of management and our Board of Directors. Any perceived uncertainties as to our future direction also could affect the market price and volatility of our securities, cause key executives to leave the Company, adversely affect the relationships we have with our school board customers, and harm existing and new business prospects.

If market demand for online options in public schooling does not increase or continue or if additional states do not authorize or adequately fund virtual or blended public schools, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

While historically we grew by opening new virtual public schools in new states, in recent years the pace of state expansion has declined while opening more schools in existing states has increased. In fiscal year 2021, we served 77 virtual public schools and blended schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In fiscal year 2020, we served 76 managed virtual public schools and blended schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Without adding additional states, our school-as-a-service revenues may become increasingly dependent on serving more virtual schools in existing states. Without adding additional states, our Managed Public School Program revenues may become increasingly dependent on serving more virtual schools in existing states. We may also not be able to fill available enrollment slots as forecasted. If the market demand for virtual and blended public schools does not increase or declines, if the remaining states are hesitant to authorize virtual or blended public schools, if enrollment caps are not removed or raised, or if the funding of such schools is inadequate, our opportunities for growth and our ability to sustain our revenues, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.

Increasing competition in the education industry sectors that we serve could lead to pricing pressures, reduced operating margins, loss of market share, departure of key employees and increased capital expenditures.

As a general matter, we face varying degrees of competition from a variety of education providers because our learning systems integrate all the elements of the education development and delivery process, including curriculum development, textbook publishing, teacher training and support, lesson planning, testing and assessment, job placement and industry-certified content, and school performance and compliance management. In both our General Education and Career Learning markets, we compete with companies that provide online curriculum and support services. We also compete with public school districts and state departments of education that offer K-12 online programs of their own or in partnership with other online curriculum vendors. As we pursue our post-secondary Career Learning strategic initiatives through our Galvanize, Tech Elevator and MedCerts subsidiaries, we will be competing with corporate training businesses and some employers that offer education as an employee benefit. We anticipate intensifying competition both from existing competitors and new entrants. We anticipate intensifying competition from such competitors and by new entrants. Our competitors may adopt superior curriculum content, technology and learning platforms, school support and marketing approaches, with different pricing and service packages that may have greater appeal than our offerings. In addition, some of our school-as-a-service offerings could seek to transition to a self-managed school by inviting competitive alternatives to portions of the products and services now provided entirely by us under our integrated fully managed service agreements. In addition, some of our Managed Public School Programs could seek to transition to a self-managed school by inviting competitive alternatives to portions of the products and services now provided entirely by us under our integrated fully managed service agreements. If we are unable to successfully compete for new business, win and renew contracts, including fully managed public school contracts, or students fail to realize sufficient gains in academic performance, our revenues, opportunities for growth and operating margins may decline. If we are unable to successfully compete for new business, win and renew contracts, including fully managed public school contracts, or students fail to 36 Table of Contentsrealize sufficient gains in academic performance, our revenues, opportunities for growth and operating margins may decline. Price competition from our current and future competitors could also result in reduced revenues, reduced margins or the failure of our product and service offerings to achieve or maintain more widespread market acceptance.

We may also face competition from publishers of traditional educational materials that are substantially larger than we are and have significantly greater financial, technical and marketing resources, and may enter the field through acquisitions and mergers. Many of these traditional publishers, or new market entrants, have developed their own online curriculum products and teaching materials that compete directly with our post-secondary Career Learning products. Many of these traditional publishers, or new market entrants, have developed their own online curriculum products and teaching materials that compete directly wit