Colleges get new life under state Senate budget bill

Four Texas community colleges facing closure will escape the axe under a preliminary Texas budget submitted by state senators Monday.

The four institutions, which include Odessa College, would have had their state funding eliminated under the House version of the budget, which was released last week. Under the Senate version, however, funding has been restored.

Aside from Odessa College, Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Frank Phillips College in Borger and Ranger College would be closed under the House plan to slash $145 million in state funding for Texas community and junior colleges.

State Sen. Kel Seliger, whose district includes both Odessa and Frank Phillips, applauded the Senate action.

"This is consistent with the value provided to the people of Texas and their future by the community college system," Seliger said in a statement released Monday. "I started working on this issue the moment I heard of the cuts proposed in the House budget last week. I appreciate (this) recognition of the invaluable role that these community colleges play in educating our workforce."

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