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Employee Raises, Key UT Investments, Martin Methodist Acquisition Included in Governor’s Budget Proposal

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Good evening.  The University of Tennessee System received some positive news tonight following the Governor’s State of the State address regarding employee pay, key UT investments and the future of our plans to address the higher education desert in southern middle Tennessee with the acquisition of Martin Methodist College (MMC). I applaud Gov. Bill Lee for his support of our critical education needs in Tennessee. These proposed investments will be transformational for countless generations.

Gov. Lee included investments that represent an unprecedented commitment to higher education, and the single largest budget in UT history.  The proposed operating budget includes recurring increases of $49.6 million and includes:

  • 4% investment in UT’s systemwide salary pool
  • $5.1 million operating increase for the UT Health Science Center
  • $8 million to further develop the Oak Ridge Institute

The budget proposal also funds two UT capital projects—the UT Knoxville nursing building and the UT Health Science Center Nash build out for two floors.  UT’s full capital maintenance request of $59.9 million is proposed.

Additionally, UT’s possible acquisition of Martin Methodist College (MMC) took an important step forward as Gov. Bill Lee included the measure in his proposed budget to the Tennessee General Assembly during tonight’s State of the State address.

Gov. Lee’s proposed budget requests $5.1 million recurring/$1 million nonrecurring for the acquisition and necessary start-up costs to incorporate the 150-year-old private college into the UT System. There are several next steps as we move forward in this process. The budget proposal must be passed by Tennessee lawmakers, and the measure must still be approved by the regional accreditor Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the United Methodist Church of Tennessee and the Tennessee Building Commission.

Additionally, the UT Board of Trustees must give its final approval. If the acquisition is approved, Martin Methodist would become the fourth undergraduate campus in the UT System and the first new campus since UT Chattanooga joined 50 years ago. It would be the only public four-year institution of higher education between Chattanooga and Memphis along Tennessee’s southern border.

I truly appreciate Gov. Lee’s commitment to helping ensure our rural counties have affordable access to education. This acquisition will give us an opportunity to provide additional higher-education opportunities to the region in critical areas such as nursing, education and business. It will also help ensure the long-term economic success of southern middle Tennessee and allow us to keep some of our brightest students in the area for their education.

For more information, please visit https://news.tennessee.edu/2021/02/08/employee-raises-key-ut-investments-martin-methodist-acquisition-included-in-governors-budget-proposal/ 

Randy Boyd