Texas A&M Board of Regents Chairman Criticizes Texas Tech Vet School
During a Monday, October 8 meeting of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate, the Chairman of the A&M System Board of Regents, Charles Schwartz, had harsh words for Texas Tech’s proposed veterinary school.
"It's just lunatic," Schwartz explained in the meeting. ". . . There are, what, 32, 33 vet schools in the country? So by definition, if they [Texas Tech] build this vet school, it's going to the the 'last place vet school.' And it's going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars."
Schwartz's comments on the proposed Texas Tech veterinary school came with concerns of a potential waste of Tuition Revenue Bonds, which are essentially bonds acquired through the state legislature that have their debt serviced by the revenue of the project they're issued for. In the case of public universities, the bonds are paid in part by revenue from student tuition.
According to a report released August 22, 2018, by Julie Eklund, Ph.D., assistant commissioner of strategic planning and funding at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the 84th Texas Legislature in 2017 funded more than 68 projects for institutions of higher learning across the state, totally more than $3.1 billion.
The report shows that in 2017, the Texas A&M University system had 16 projects approved totaling $987 million, $800 million of which is financed by Tuition Revenue Bonds. In contrast, the Texas Tech University System had just six projects approved, totaling $306 million, $247 million of which is financed by TRBs.
But Schwartz wasn't finished with his criticism of Texas Tech. He went on to propose an alternative way Texas Tech could attract large animal vets to the panhandle, implying that Tech can't compete with the vet school at Texas A&M.
"You lend them [veterinarians], um, a million and a half dollars to start their practice, and you forgive 10 percent a year for each year that they practice up there. And I can make them stay for 1/10th of the cost, 1/20th of the cost of what they [Texas Tech] think they want to spend for a vet school," he said.
The Texas Tribune reported in July that only 180 livestock vets operate within the state, a problem Texas Tech hopes to remedy with their own vet school in Amarillo, scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.
If all goes according to plan, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine will be the second of its kind in the state.