One of the hot-button issues in this year's legislative session in Austin will be whether or not full funding, and approval, is given to Texas Tech to build the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo.

Earlier this month, in the preliminary budgets released by the Texas House and Senate for the 86th Legislature, there is a significant difference in funding the vet school. The House has earmarked $17.35 million, the Senate, just $4.2 million. The veterinary school also has to be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

In spite of those hurdles, the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board on Wednesday, published a lengthy editorial explaining its support for the vet school.

Three paragraphs of the DMN editorial stand out:

The Texas Legislature has kicked this issue down the road for decades, slow to take action on the demand for rural veterinarians and the right programs to address it. This session, Texas Tech University System is offering a proposal to solve this problem by building a veterinary school at the health sciences center in Amarillo. We think lawmakers should give the university a chance to do so.
But there’s a larger issue here beyond Tech vs. A&M: Investing in West Texas. We city folk often forget how greatly we rely on that vast rural region of the state for food, fuel, cotton and more. It’s important to support local institutions, particularly when people in the region have shown enthusiasm for a project with their own donations.
Texas Tech has raised $90 million to build the school and has asked the Legislature for $17 million for the biennium to pay for operations to support an initial class size of 40 students, including students who might choose to focus on pets rather than large or food animals.

Many of the movers-and-shakers, and stakeholders, across the state read the Dallas Morning News, and their support has to help boost the spirits of Texas Tech's administration in advance of the battle for funding.

The Texas A&M University System hasn't changed its previously stated stance, saying Texas Tech's program isn't needed and that a supplemental veterinary program at West Texas A&M in Canyon would suffice for West Texas.

The current legislative session concludes in late May, when state lawmakers by then will have to have passed a budget for the next biennium.