Business Issues
The Marketplace for Asora's Stellar School Services
We have estimated that approximately 6 million children receive instruction from the private sector- mostly in a physical school but sometimes through a home schooling vendor or other distance learning services. We project that this base of private customers is growing somewhat more than 2%- or 160,000- per year.
The Organizational Format For Asora's Stellar Schools
To achieve significant cost savings from the technologies employed it is necessary to develop economies of scale. To do this requires having a network of many schools with at least many thousands of students. In reviewing the kinds of business networks available we have determined that a franchising network is most suitable. Franchising, as opposed to wholly owned systems, allows one to design an optimal level of local control and also more easily accommodates the task of raising capital. It is flexible in another way that is most beneficial to existing networks of schools: That is, only the franchisor needs to be a for-profit business. The franchisees can be for-profit, non-profit, or even public schools. Thus the application of the Stellar Schools concept could help reform non-profit schools or public schools.
The Projected Costs For Asora's Stellar Schools
In the rather elaborate business plan developed for Stellar Schools we have estimated the per pupil cost per year to be in the neighborhood of $5,000. Of this, approximately $1,000 pays for the technology and content of the virtual school provider. The remaining $4,000 is the cost of operating the school facility including the teachers’ compensation. The automation implicit in the virtual school format allows higher student-teacher ratios. Despite that higher ratio, we believe the teacher-student contact time will actually increase because all of the routine teacher chores, including the lecturing, will have been automated leaving the teacher to spend nearly all of his or her time dealing directly with students.
Development Path
The speed of development will depend on the capital made available. To date we have not had any significant capital contributed to the Stellar School effort. Here is what we foresee as the steps in the establishment of Asora's Stellar Schools franchising system:

1. Identify the curriculum and books.
2. Identify the application service provider(s) (ASP).
3. Hire teachers to construct the virtual courseware, including the video lectures.
4. Test the courseware in classrooms.
5. Market the Stellar Schools virtual courseware to home schoolers.
6. Purchase or find private schools that will use the Stellar School virtual courseware.
7. Refine and perfect a small wholly owned network of K-12 schools.
8. Based on the success of the preceding begin developing franchisee schools

We have completed Step 1.) and have found some of the ASP’s of Step 2.). We are now working on Step 3.) but progress is slow. This slow pace is due to our lack of capital and we are currently unable to hire the teachers envisaged there. However, we have begun to build an Algebra 1 course based on the Saxon Math textbook. It appears that it will require a significant fraction of a man-year to develop this course. We hope to use this one course to demonstrate how Stellar Schools’ instructional system will operate. That may engender sufficient interest to allow us to raise needed capital including “sweat” equity.