TTU System ‘playing defense’ in Austin as state agencies try to avoid budget cuts

Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:52 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Now that the state legislature is back in session, the Texas Tech University System is working to ensure its top priorities are met in Austin.

In 2019, both the veterinary school up in Amarillo and the dental school in El Paso were given the green light with state funding.

But this year Chancellor Tedd Mitchell says they are “playing defense” on the legislative floor.

“We want to make sure that they understand that we’re being good stewards of the people’s money, and not by coming down there and asking for heaven and earth when we’re sending in our budget,” Dr. Mitchell said.

“22% of the TTU System’s budget currently comes from the state, about $491 million.”

The TTU system’s laundry list for the next biennium is notably smaller, due to the state’s billion-dollar deficit. It is one of 200 state agencies hoping to avoid budget cuts.

“You’re coming into a session that’s going to be a little bit more difficult financially,” he said.

Most of the priorities this time, Mitchell says, are maintaining programs at all four universities, although, the system is still looking to expand.

“This is actually one of the priorities for the state of Texas, that will actually save them money,”

Mitchell is confident Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls will become the fifth school associated with Texas Tech, with the legislature’s blessing this session.

Staff has already been working alongside the liberal arts college for the past year and a half. Including, lending a helping hand to get CARES Act money.

“We actually used our federal relations team to make sure they got all of the funding they were due. I think they’re already seeing the benefit of being a part of a larger system,” Mitchell said.

“One of the sacrifices they are making is Tuition Revenue Bonds (TRB) , which are used to build new buildings or refurbish old ones. That will be deferred, for now, according to Dr. Mitchell.

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