Odessa Chamber Rallies Behind Odessa College

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The Odessa Chamber of Commerce is joining the fight in protecting Odessa College from major possible funding cuts.

23% or $8 million is how much less funding Odessa College will receive if the state budget proposal in Austin is passed.

But with steadily increasing enrollment and a big bond being approved last year, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce is wondering: Where's the fire?

"They've used one basic one criteria to base this decision on," Doug Chisum, Chairman of the Odessa Chamber, said. "It's pretty drastic, but Odessa College is a very vital part of our community."

During their meeting on Wednesday morning, the Chamber voted to craft a resolution that would help the college keep that funding should the state take it away.

They argue that Odessa College is far too important to the community to lose that money.

"Odessa College reaches out to all the local communities. Monahans, Kermit, Pecos, Andrews," Chisum said. "Without that there's not much of an option available to them."

And come February 15th, representatives from the Chamber will travel to Austin to make their case for the College before state lawmakers, making sure they know that the great things coming out of the Home of the Wranglers outweigh the reason the funds would be cut.

"Make sure that these Representatives understand that Odessa College is growing, they're setting record enrollment," Chisum said.

They hope what they have to say can help keep doors open for future students.

NewsWest 9 has also heard that some questions have come up asking what will happen to that bond that was approved.

College officials told NewsWest 9 on Wednesday that the bond will go on and won't be affected.