Parents fear autistic school will close

Tuesday, May 13th 2008, 7:08 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

A metro school catering to autistic children is in danger of having to close. The director of the Rubicon School and Learning Center told parents this week he plans to close the school because he can't make ends meet.

Parents of the about a dozen children that attend the school said it's made a dramatic impact on their lives in the year since it opened. The school provides therapy and instruction, geared toward kids with the disorder.

Tuition costs $2,500 a month for full day classes.  Director Paul Boer said the school needs to nearly double enrollment to stay open.

"The number of students we have just isn't sufficient to pay all the bills we have, especially the labor costs," Boer said.

Boer said he plans to shut down during the summer, then decide in August if he can reopen.  In the meantime, he and parents are trying to raise the $50,000 the school needs to stay open this summer. Boer said he's looking for a corporate sponsor to help.

"We still think that this is what we're supposed to be doing and we're hoping that in some way we can find the funding we need to continue offering these services," he said.

Parents said they rely on the unique school. 

"We noticed major improvement," Chris Wilson said. "My son is profoundly autistic, just to get any kind of simple improvement is major for us."

Melissa Reynolds said her family drives four hours round trip everyday from Elk City to bring Garrett to school.  

After coming to the school, Garrett started talking and making some eye contact.

"He said momma for the first time on Mother's Day which was awesome, so I know, I know it works," she said.