Texas’s second veterinary school might be back on track.
Texas Tech University System in Amarillo, Texas, has wanted to open a college of veterinary medicine since 2015; however, fierce opposition from Texas’s veterinary school, Texas A&M, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board eventually led to Texas Tech putting their plans on hold. Texas Tech wanted to open the school to help address the lack of large animal veterinarians on the western side of the state, but the opposition said the cost would outweigh the benefits.
It seems state lawmaker agreed with Texas Tech, however. Despite starting the year with no plans to fund the opening of the school, lawmakers put it into the budget, allocating $4.1 million in funding for the opening of the college of veterinary medicine.
In a joint statement, as reported by the Texas Tribune, State Sen. Charles Perry, Rep. Dustin Burrows, Rep. John Frullo and Rep. John Smithee said, ”Rural Texas depends on agriculture as an economic driver, and the lack of large-animal veterinarians in Texas can have a devastating effect on our communities. The inclusion of $4.1 million in the state budget to establish a veterinary school at Texas Tech University will go a long way in addressing this need.”
Originally Texas Tech had planned to open their vet school in 2019, a goal that may no longer be realistic. The school has other hurdles it must cross still, including continued opposition from Texas A&M and getting approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Both the board and Texas A&M have said the cost of adding another veterinary school could be better spent on helping expand Texas A&M’s reach throughout the state; however, the board was open to the idea of Texas Tech helping meet the demand for large animal veterinarians.
Lawmakers, for now, are on Texas Tech’s side. “The overwhelming support for the funding of a veterinary school at Texas Tech University goes to show that both chambers and both political parties understand how important this is to rural Texas. This school will ensure students receive high-quality veterinary skills and education for large animal practice in high-need areas,” they said in their statement.