Proposition 4 Will Help Texas Universities Gain National Prominence

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

Tuesday is Election Day across the Nation.  On the ballot in the Lone Star State are a handful of proposed, constitional ammendments, that all are important in their own right.   One local economist says one proposition could propel some Universities into top tier schools.

Texas Tech and the University of Houston are just 2 of 7 schools in the state that stand to gain a lot, if proposition 4 gets the green light.  It will put them in position to compete for grant money, to get them higher on the research and technology ladder, and become a tier one school.

Proposition 4 would establish a fund, available to emerging Universities who have shown growth in research funding.

Establishing more tier one schools in the state means Texas can compete with states like California and Massachusets, who have more tier one schools per capita.

Supporters of Propostion 4 say, states with more tier one schools tend to train more scientists and engineers and have higher quality faculty on their campuses.  If it passes, the benefits will trickle down to the local economy too.

"A lot of the industries that are being redefined by new technologies now, are industries that are in our local area. Obviously, if we have a better workforce available within the state, if we have more of the research taking place in the state, more of the commercialization opportunities taking place in the state, then that creates opportunities for all parts of the state, including the Permian Basin," Dr. Ray Perryman, President and CEO of The Perryman Group in Waco, said.

All of the schools on the list are eligible for the grant money, which according to Perryman, has been set aside by the legislature and the constitution to be used for education purposes.

Perryman also says the fund is a dormant fund, pending passing of the proposal and it will not involve any new tax dollars.

Right now, Texas has only 3 tier one schools, UT Austin, Texas A&M and Rice.