Mercedes Schneider thinks she has figured out the BASIS financial model by studying its tax returns over the years. She writes that it’s owners, Michael and Olga Block, keep expanding because the chain needs more revenue.

She goes through the BASIS returns year by year. Every time they open a new school, they get more revenue—and more debt.

“That seems to be the secret to its financial sauce: Use the revenue generated from opening new schools to make money while forestalling the crash of snowballing debt.”

She writes:

“What do you call an investment where you have to keep bringing in more investors?

“A fraud.

“Consider the following from Investopedia regarding pyramid schemes:

The process continues until the base of the pyramid is no longer strong enough to support the upper structure, and there are no more recruits.

“The problem is that the scheme cannot go on forever….

“The fraud lies in the fact that it is impossible for the cycle to sustain itself….

“In the case of Basis schools, Michael and Olga Block cannot go on opening new schools ad infinitum.

“If they are dependent upon opening new schools (as they seem to be), they are setting up all Basis schools for financial collapse.

“Basis Schools:

“$274 million in long-term debt as of June 30, 2017, according to its FY 2017 audit.”