Education a Top Priority in 2016 Budget Proposal

Governor Bill Haslam’s 2015 State of the State address on Monday featured several pieces of welcome news for education.

The governor proposed fully funding the state’s Complete College Act formula for fiscal year 2015–2016. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission requested $25.7 million to allocate to state schools based on performance outcomes. If approved, UT Knoxville could see as much as $5.5 million in additional state funds.

The proposed budget also includes a pay increase for state employees, which provides $19.5 million to fund the state’s portion of raises for higher education employees.

Haslam’s budget also boosts K–12 funding with $100 million for increasing teacher salaries.

“I truly believe that getting education right is critical to the well being of our state—today and in the future,” Haslam said.

Other notable higher education investments include $260 million for state capital projects, which includes UT Knoxville’s top priority—a new science and laboratory building on Cumberland Avenue and Thirteenth Street. The state is investing $75 million in the $102 million project.

“The reason we continue to make these investments in education is we want Tennesseans to have the education, training, and skills necessary to have a good-paying high-quality job,” he said.

The full text of Haslam’s address is available online.