Panhandle community college could close

UPDATED 4:40 p.m.: The proposed state budget cuts would have Texas colleges and universities seeing a reduction in funding of $772 million. That is where we find the perfect example of how this could impact our area. 4 community colleges in the state would be closed as part of this plan. One right here in the Panhandle, Frank Phillips College with campuses in Borger and Perryton. It's news that has students and faculty, up in arms.

"I like this college and it offers a lot to everybody and even though this is a small town I've noticed a lot of people will come from all over. I, like, I have some friends who came from Australia that came to school here," said Lorenzo Johnson, Spending 2nd semester at Frank Phillips College.

After hearing the news, many students say with the convenient drive and lower cost, some would simply have to move or stop pursuing their higher education all together.

"If they shut it down, I think honestly I'll have to move," said Johnson.

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"Am about to be done and for me, personally, it wouldn't do much but for other people that live here that's kind of like taking an opportunity away from them. They may not have the resources to go far away to college and this is like the next big thing," said Gloria Chavarria, 3rd semester at Frank Phillips College.

"For a lot of students not having Frank Phillips College in Borger or Perryton is just crippling they don't have the means to go to another town," said Shannon Carroll, Vice President of Academic Affairs.

The college has two campuses, the main one in Borger and another in Perryton. Both campuses have over 1,000 students enrolled and employ 67 faculty members. Dr. Jud Hicks, Interim President at Frank Phillips released this statement:

"We fully expected significant funding cuts from the State this year; however, we had no idea we would have to justify our existence from an appropriations standpoint. We will gather the facts as they pertain to Frank Phillips College and will present our case to the appropriate legislative powers in Austin. Our faculty and staff will continue to focus on providing quality educational services to our students throughout the top nine counties of the Texas Panhandle."

The faculty agree, and say it will be business as usual.

"What Frank Phillips College does is educate it's students and that's where we need to keep our focus. This is obviously important news to us and we're going to work really hard to help the state legislation see what we do and see how important we are to the communities in the Panhandle," said Carroll.

One way the college is going to fight, they're inviting local representatives to visit their campuses and see what kind of impact closing the college would have on surrounding communities.

Do you attend Frank Phillips College? Leave us your comments below. How would the college closing affect you?

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: T he state of Texas is facing a $15 billion revenue shortfall. The proposed two-year state budget, would eliminate over 9,000 jobs and close several community colleges including Frank Phillips in Borger. Below is a brief look at the proposed budget for the next two-years.

We have a crew on the way to Borger, and will be speaking with city officials about what these cuts could mean for their community.

-- The plan would eliminate 9,600 jobs, including more than 1,500 in the prison system.

-- The plan would slash $772 million for colleges and universities. Two-year colleges that would close are Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Frank Phillips College in Borger, Odessa College and Ranger College.

-- Medicaid reimbursement would be reduced 10 percent for doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.

-- Texas contributions to the state employee retirement fund would be reduced from 6.95 percent to 6 percent.

-- The attorney general would charge an annual child support service fee, a monthly child support processing fee and an electronic filing of documents fee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.