Killeen: School that helps kids with autism needs help itself

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Since opening nearly six years ago, a Central Texas private school has given students a chance at getting their education away from a traditional school setting.

From the outside of Oak Creek Academy in Killeen – to the inside – what you'll find here is all about inclusion and empowering each student.

"Smaller class sizes is a plus, you have a certified teacher with a para…14 students. That's important to know because the individualized instruction can happen,” Founder and Principal Dr. Tracy Hanson said.

Hanson says out of the 85 students almost 75 percent have autism. The school, she says, a one stop shop for parents. Therapy sessions happen multiple times a week and therapists are also helping students – should an issue arise -- in the classroom.

"We take a student and wherever they are, we start teaching them and they progress from there."

But, a growing list of repairs needed at the school has led to this question: Where is the money going to come from?

Tuition pays teacher's salaries and other bills, but it's now not enough thanks to an $85,000 plumbing repair that's needed on top of other issues.

"It was money we had set aside for teacher raises, teacher benefits that our teachers are not able to get at this time and for scholarships for new students to be able to come to this school,” Hanson said.

That’s not the only setback, there's a worn out HVac system, too.

"This winter a lot of our teachers and students had to go without central heat. We had to use space heaters in the classrooms,” she said.

On Tuesday, Lochridge-Priest, Inc. surprised the school with a brand new HVac unit.

In classrooms here, students are learning valuable life skills. But as problems pile up, the place they've grown to love could be in jeopardy.

Services provided to students include before and after school daycare, child development center, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy and a Montessori-inspired classroom.

"The bills are here. The bills are expected to be paid. So, yes, we need money now,” Hanson added.

For a link to donate to Oak Creek Academy, the link is posted on this page.