The new alternative school that Silicon Valley influences backed is now facing difficulties, with one school slated for closure and all other expansion efforts halted.
Max Ventilla, the former Google Head of Personalization and founder and CEO of AltSchool, wrote an email to the families of children that attend the Palo Alto branch. In it, Business Insider reports that Ventilla cites a change in course that is dependent on a “path to growth and finances.”
AltSchool, which was founded in 2013, was built as a system of schools that provides individualized instruction to a selection of students that live in California and New York. While building schools, the company has also had a vested interest in building software that enables teachers to provide personalized education in the classroom.
Now it seems that AltSchool will be forgoing building its own schools in favor of selling their software to already existing schools. Financial woes are most definitely the culprit. The nine schools price tuition at $30,000 a year per student, but with less than 150 students at each school and an annual spending budget of $40 million, the cost-benefit analysis proved the schools were not worth the investment.
While the actual cause and effect of the scenario are apparent, the closure still comes as a surprise. BizJournals reports that AltSchools had completed their most recent round of funding this past May. Funders included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Paypal CEO Peter Thiel, and Andreessen Horowitz.
The only closure known for sure will be the Palo Alto school; the other eight schools are not currently slated to close in the upcoming academic year.