AUSTIN and LUBBOCK, Texas — Funding for the proposed Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine was approved Friday afternoon by budget conferees in the amount of $17.35 million for the next biennium. The funding was approved as part of House Bill 1, which is the state’s budget bill for the next two years.
House and Senate leaders have not yet finalized budget negotiations, and so the amount of money is still subject to change.
The previous funding commitment by the Texas Senate had been only $4 million, and Friday’s development was described by supporters as a “huge victory” for the Texas Tech University System.
The proposal is for a Texas Tech vet school in Amarillo. Texas Tech has stated that at least $17 million would be needed for operations, but additional money has been raised privately. It has been highly supported by community leaders in both Lubbock and Amarillo. Governor Greg Abbott late last year voiced his support for it.
It has also been the subject of disagreement from Texas A&M University officials.
Late in the day, TTUS released the following statement on behalf of Chancellor Ted Mitchell:
“We are grateful to the budget conferees for providing funding and legislative direction to establish a veterinary school at Texas Tech in Amarillo, which will address the critical need for veterinarians and provide more opportunities for affordable education in Texas.
While the budget must receive final approval by both chambers and the Governor, I thank our legislators, especially our West Texas delegation, for their hard work and leadership to support this historic initiative for our state.”
Sen. Charles Perry, Sen. Kel Seliger, Rep. Dustin Burrows, Rep. John Frullo, Rep. Ken King, Rep. Four Price, Rep. John T. Smithee, & Rep. Drew Springer Issue Joint Statement Regarding The Funding For A Texas Tech University School Of Veterinary Medicine:
“The Legislature has always recognized the value of a robust and competitive university system when it comes to meeting the needs of a growing state that has an integral role in the success of the nation and global economy.
The Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine (TTUSOVM) will help address the shortage of large and mixed animal veterinarian’s in rural parts of the state.
The addition of the vet school will enhance the ability to meet the demand for a growing population and secure the food supply. The school will begin to address the hundreds of applicants that are leaving the State of Texas for a more costly education and coming back to practice in their home state with upwards of $250,000 in debt due to an out of state tuition.
This is a great day for future veterinarians of this great state and for the entire country.
We want to thank all of the people who made this dream a reality—beginning with former Texas Tech System Chancellors Robert Duncan and Kent Hance, Chancellor Tedd Mitchell, Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, fellow legislators and the thousands of others who supported the vet school. As usual, trusting in the process to do what is right for the citizens of this great state has once again been fulfilled.”
UPDATE: The dollar amount in this story was updated as new information came in from the state capitol.