New Horizon Academy Open for Now
Â Â Â "Did you haveÂ good day at school," Tracy Chinn asked her Billy.
Â Â Â Fourteen-year-old Billy Chinn is a student at New Horizon Academy, a school in Ocala dedicated to educating children with autism.
Â Â Â Billy's mom says the school has changed his life... and she's fighting hard to keep it open.
Â Â Â "The more we thought about it, the more we thought it just couldn't happen," Chinn said.
Â Â Â They've struggled all year long, thanks to the weak economy and state scholarship cuts.
Â Â Â Â Teachers thought the school wouldn't stay open past February... but thanks to a flurry of fundraisers, the doors will stay open until the end of this school year.
Â Â Â Â "We want to grow in the future.Â but to help out the kids in the community who really need it, we'll need to be self-sufficient," Julie Boisvert, a teacher at New Horizons, said.
Â Â But to help new horizon see many more school years, parents got together for a grant writing session.
Â Â Â Seventeen students go to this school... but nearly 40 are on a waiting list.
Â Â Â "We're trying to come up with other ways to take care of that so it's not such a financial burden," Chinn said.
Â Â Â Â If the school does have to close, parents say it's not as simple as just sending their kids to public school.Â Because for Billy, the part of his brain that understands receptive language never developed, and he can't understand what's being said to him.Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â And the extra attention Billy gets from his teachers at New Horizon is something that his mom says he might not get at a public school.
Â Â Â Â "I don't want my child to have to get used to another environment," Chinn said.
Â Â Â Â If New Horizons does have to close, Marion County public school leaders say their schools are equipped to teach autistic children.
Â Â Â Â But for parents of New Horizons students, they will continue to raise money.Â Their next event is a benefit walk, scheduled for the end of April.
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