Midland College Program Cut Talks Continue

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - With state budget cuts bearing down, Midland College could end up falling short $1 million.

At Tuesday's meeting, they looked at two programs in particular, the Veterinary Technology and Pilot programs.

But not only did students turn up in support of their programs, but local officials as well.

The meeting was packed with students from both the Vet Tech and Pilot programs, making presentations and presenting signatures to keep their programs alive.

They had done the same at the board meeting last month, but this time, they said a new tack was taken.

"Last month, we kind of told them that we were passionate about the program and want it to still be here," MC Vet Tech student, Tammy Reyes, said. "This board meeting was more about getting the facts straight, getting that to the board so they know."

Senior instructors in the Pilot program spoke in their defense, citing how it's the only program of its kind for 300 miles, not to mention the help it brings to the aviation industry and local businesses who do business by plane.

"A big need for this program is basically to serve the aviation community as far as people buying their own airplanes," Craig Patterson, Chief Instructor with the Pilot program, said. "They're going to need insurance check-outs, proficiency exams, and things like that."

Midland city officials with Animal Services also attended, saying the partnership they share with the Vet Tech program helps to take care of animals in local shelters, saving them from being put down and getting them to good homes.

"Spaying and neutering and vaccinating them, and those animals have a very high adoption rate once they're returned to the shelter," Paul O'Neill, Midland Director of Animal Services, said. "Our euthanasia numbers have gone down each year in the last four years which is just phenomenal."

Support is drumming up for both programs, but ultimately the decision will be left in the hands of the board based on the cuts coming down from the state.

Advocates for both programs hope that they will continue to gain support from the community and won't have to think about packing it up.

"This is just an example of two parts of the community coming together to solve a problem," O'Neill said. "And hopefully we can get more pieces of the community on board to help both of us to solve that problem as well."

A decision on the program cuts will come closer to the summer when the state budget has been finalized.

Until then officials NewsWest 9 spoke to with say both programs will continue to do whatever they can to keep theirs from being closed.