Tennessee governor seeks higher ed, infrastructure funds in budget
Tennessee – Gov. Bill Lee is proposing a $52.6 billion budget heading into a joint session of Tennessee’s General Assembly that includes investments in education, transportation infrastructure, and public safety.
Gov. Lee’s address included a vision for updating K-12 education funding. This new approach will set aside dollars for each student, based on that student’s individual needs, paying particular attention to students with disabilities, rural students, low income-students, and students with other priority needs.
Tennessee State University
His budget proposes more than $1 billion in new, recurring education spending for public schools across Tennessee. As those funds would not be available until Fiscal Year 2024, he is seeking $500 million in K-12 education funding to improve Career and Technology Education centers at all high schools and middle schools in the state.
In addition, Lee is requesting $200 million to move 14 public schools out of floodplains and $50 million to continue Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) and Supporting Postsecondary Access in Rural Communities (SPARC) grants.
Proposed funding for higher education initiatives includes:
- $250 million in infrastructure improvements at Tennessee State University to mitigate life-safety issues and help improve academic and student campus buildings.
- $200 million for Tennessee College of Applied Technology infrastructure investments to help double the skilled workforce by 2026.
- $170 million to invest in a statewide Enterprise Resource System for the University of Tennessee.
- $72 million to complete the Oak Ridge Innovation Institute.
The governor is also calling for $619 million to accelerate infrastructure projects listed in the Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy, (IMPROVE) Act of 2017.
He is advocating the state budget $355.6 million to build a new multi-agency law enforcement training academy and $179 million to complete full construction of Tennessee Advanced Communications Network coverage for emergency communications and law enforcement.