AUSTIN, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine is closer to reality thanks to legislators hammering out the state’s budget for the next two years.
The combined house budget conference committee has agreed on $17.35 million for the Amarillo school as part of HB1, the state’s general appropriations bill that will fund the government for two years.
The house had initially proposed the $17 million plus budget for the school, while the senate offered $4.17 million.
Texas Tech System Chancellor Tedd Mitchell was quick to praise the committee upon news of the agreement.
“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.”
That West Texas delegation, including representatives from both the Lubbock and Amarillo areas, released a joint statement on the funding Friday evening.
"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."
The statement was credited to Senators Charles Perry, Jose Rodriguez and Kel Seliger; along with Representatives Dustin Burrows, Drew Darby, John Frullo, Ken King, Four Price, John T. Smithee and Drew Springer.
The full budget will go to the house and senate to approve the changes to the budget before it heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.
Texas Tech hopes to begin classes for the vet school in 2021. Once open it will become only the second veterinary program in the state.