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Elite Education Program Faces Cuts

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-947705.mp3

Dallas, TX – At a time when businesses are clamoring for engineers and scientists, a top student training program faces dramatic state budget cuts. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports enrollment for the Texas Academy of Mathmatics and Sciences, or TAMS, could be slashed.

TAMS educates some of the brightest high school juniors and senior on the UNT campus in Denton.

Graduates leave high school with college credits and go on to elite careers with NASA, MIT and top research facilities.

But more than half of the program's money comes from state public and higher education dollars , and the Texas House's proposed budget slashes TAMS funding by $1 million.

Dr. Richard Sinclair, the Dean of TAMS, says the cuts amount to a fourth of what it takes to operate the program.

Sinclair: About 80 percent of the graduates declare majors in math, science or engineering. So we know we are being successful focusing the kids on those areas. Many of them are doing spectacular undergraduate research which encourages them to go graduate school and become scientists and engineers. We'd lose half those students.

Sinclair says the Texas Academy of Math and Science currently admits 200 students a year. If proposed reductions remain, the program would have to cut next year's enrollment in half.

Email Shelley Kofler