Major Cuts in State Funding at Amarillo College - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Major Cuts in State Funding at Amarillo College

"To suggest a group of community colleges could just walk in and fool them is not credible," says State Representative John Smithee, (R) Amarillo "To suggest a group of community colleges could just walk in and fool them is not credible," says State Representative John Smithee, (R) Amarillo

It's as if the rug has been pulled out from under Amarillo College.

That's what President Steven Jones is saying after Governor Rick Perry vetoed $155 million in funding from community colleges across the state, about $4 million of which was going to AC.

Shocked... Stunned... Disturbed... Those are some of the words teachers and faculty used today to describe how they feel about the loss of millions. They are overwhelmingly concerned about what this means for students and the future of the community college system.

"I don't know how many times you can just take away and take away and take away. That means we'll have cuts across the board it's going to impact every avenue of students services as well as faculty," says Judy Carter, a speech communications teacher at AC.

Carter is worried about her benefits as a teacher, but more so how AC can bounce back from such a hit.

"Why he would penalize the very institutions that operate the most efficiently and serve the most people with the least amount of tax dollars, is beyond us," says AC President Steven Jones.

Governor Perry says he vetoed the funds because the colleges have falsified funding requests in the past. That accusation is causing quite an uproar.

"What bothers me the most is the Governor claims the colleges falsified their appropriations request by $120 million and I haven't figured out where he got that information," says State Representative Warren Chisum, (R) Pampa.

"To suggest a group of community colleges could just walk in and fool them is not credible," says State Representative John Smithee, (R) Amarillo. 

Insults aside, now AC has to think about how it will make up for the budget cuts. Anything from raising taxes and tuition or dropping pay raises and not hiring new employees could be considered.

"Of course that results in bigger class loads and eventually impacts the product and service that community colleges are providing," says Smithee.

"I love my students, I love my job, I am so proud of the students we need to have the very best teachers and staff that we can provide, and we do right now. But we need to not take away the things that make that possible," says Carter.

Chisum adds that Governor Perry also vetoed $5 million allocated for WT, for a new engineering program.

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