SAN FRANCISCO -- A small, private K-8 school founded by a former Googler has received $33 million in venture capital to develop software and technology aimed at eliminating administrators and keeping costs down -- while personalizing learning for every student.

Altschool, which opened the first of four "micro school" classrooms here in mid-2013 and has plans to expand outside San Francisco to Palo Alto and the East Bay, will use most of its new funding to create more tools that allow students and parents to instantly track children's' assignments and progress while cutting down teachers' nonteaching responsibilities, said Max Ventilla, Altschool's founder and CEO.

Ventilla left Google in 2007 to create a startup called a social media search service called Aardvark that he then sold to Google in 2010. Three years ago, Ventilla, with some fellow former Googlers in tow, set out to design "a totally new school system, one that is built on top of very active research and development in terms of tools for teachers and students and parents. It's entirely teacher led."

The VC money comes from a heady list of investors led by Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz with additional funding from First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital and the Omidyar Network. With an annual tuition of $19,100, Altschool's website promises a student-to-teacher ratio of 8-to-1. But by fall 2014, when enrollment is expected to grow from the initial 12 students to 150 to 200 students, Ventilla said the student-teacher ratio will actually be more like 10-to-1 or 12-to-1.

Stanford professor Terry Moe, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who researches education, called multi-million-dollar venture capital for a startup, private school system "a bit unusual."

"The big question is always, 'How good are they going to be?'" Moe said. "They might be fantastic. They might not." Altschool builds its classrooms around technology that relies on the Internet to help teachers quickly design individualized "playlists" of schoolwork for every student in minutes rather than hours, Ventilla said.

Students are placed in groups based on their work abilities, not on their ages or what grade they would be assigned in a traditional school system.

"We have neither a strict age cutoff nor the notion that there's such a thing as a 'third grader,'" Ventilla said. "Our students move between groups depending on their specific skill levels."

Parents can access their children's work and progress in real time. Teachers and parents can add comments to the work with a click of a button.

With no administrators, senior teachers are paid six-figure salaries, Ventilla said.

By fall, Altschool plans to add new classrooms in Palo Alto and the East Bay -- likely Oakland or Berkeley. Lower rents in the East Bay mean tuition can drop closer to $15,000, along with smaller teacher salaries, Ventilla said.

Within three years, mostly by gains through new technology, Ventilla hopes to cuts costs further and drop tuition below $13,000 per year, which he said would be 30 to 40 percent below comparable Bay Area private schools.

Contact Dan Nakaso at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/dannakaso.