Proposed Texas Budget Slashes Education Funding

The first draft is out on the Texas budget and it could impact Texoma. About $13.7 billion in state spending would be cut under the proposed plan. The draft makes up for a revenue shortfall of at least $15 billion dollars by making cuts to almost every state agency. One of those agencies included in the cut are colleges and universities.

In the proposed budget nearly $800 million will be slashed over next two years.

Colleges and universities like Midwestern State University have known cuts were coming on the horizon, but Newschannel 6 is learning that many are surprised at how much money is being taken out.

The state proposes to slash close to $5.5 million from MSU's budget. President Dr. Jesse Rogers told Newschannel 6 in a written statement that the school did not anticipate such a change.

To see the President's statement, click here.

Many students on campus also voiced opinions of shock and anger at the potential cuts to their education.

"It's a terrible idea," says Robert Thompson.

Michelle Montgomery agrees. "I don't like it at all."

When some students heard the specific numbers, they couldn't believe it.

"I'm a little bit scared with those numbers," said Vatsal Ladia, an international student from India.

Especially since some say education has always been a priority for the state.

"Texas has always had really good funded educational programs and why they are cutting it seems a little ridiculous," says mass communications major Blake Muse.

In February of 2010, the MSU board decided to increase tuition by 3.95%. The hike started this school year. However certain students feel the cuts and recently increased tuition may affect some more than others.

"As an independent student, as far as being on my own, I feel cuts like that defiantly affect students," says one girl.

"It's pretty much hard on every student, I'm sure," echoes Ladia, "Especially the international students because when they came here, they never expected the change and now they have to face it."

Simba Madzima, a freshman from Zimbabwe hopes the fees won't force students to leave the state. "A lot of international students like me coming from Africa, we like Texas. It's not cold, its more like home, if you look at it that way, and I think the cuts would just affect us in a big way and lead to us looking for somewhere else."

Madzima says students may look to another state or even another county if fees continue to rise.

President Rogers hopes that in spite of the cuts, the University won't have to squeeze students wallets.

"The university has been working, for some time, in preparation for significant reductions in our budget," he says in a written statement, "It is our hope that reductions can be made without furloughs or without dismissing persons now employed. However, open positions will not be filled and operational budgets throughout the university will have to be significantly reduced."

Either way, people like Montgomery feel the state needs to keep education a priority for the sake of students.

"It hurts society, it hurts everyone, it really does, " she says.

In spite of the cuts, the MSU board says it will continue to keep a promise to all students. Through 2012, tuition and fees will not increase more than 5 percent in any academic year.

The proposed state budget is expected to be revised before it's voted on later this legislative session.

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6