Haslam In 4th State Of The State Promises 2 Free Years Of Community College For Graduating Seniors; Proposal Includes $63 Million For Teacher Pay Increases, Full BEP Funding

Monday, February 03, 2014

During his fourth annual State of the State address before the General Assembly, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday night introduced the “Tennessee Promise.” The  proposal "commits to providing on a continuing basis two years of community college or a college of applied technology (TCAT) absolutely free of tuition and fees to graduating high school seniors." 

 

“Through the Tennessee Promise, we are fighting the rising cost of higher education, and we are raising our expectations as a state,” Governor Haslam said.  “We are committed to making a clear statement to families that education beyond high school is a priority in the state of Tennessee.”

 

After graduating from a community college, if students choose to attend a four-year school, the state’s transfer pathways program makes it possible for those students to start as a junior.  By getting their first two years free, the cost of a four-year degree would be cut in half.

 

“This is a bold promise,” Governor Haslam continued. “It is a promise that will speak volumes to current and prospective employers.  It is a promise that will make a real difference for generations of Tennesseans, and it is a promise that we have the ability to make.  Net cost to the state, zero.  Net impact on our future, priceless.”

 

To make the Tennessee Promise sustainable over time, the governor proposed transferring lottery reserve funds to create an endowment, with the goal of strategically redirecting existing resources.  He recommended leaving $110 million in the lottery reserve fund to ensure there is a healthy balance moving forward.

 

The Tennessee Promise is part of Governor Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school.  In 11 years, 55 percent of Tennesseans will need a certificate or degree to get a job, but today, only 32 percent of Tennesseans qualify.  

 

Other Drive to 55 efforts this year include:

 

  • Statewide expansion of the Seamless Alignment of Integrated Learning (SAILS) program to eliminate the need for remedial math courses for students entering college with $2.6 million in the proposed budget.  Currently, 70 percent of high school graduates need remedial classes before they are able to take a college level course.
  • Offering one dual enrollment course to high school students at no cost with discounted courses available after that.  Dual enrollment allows high school students to take college credit courses, and there is a 94 percent probability that those students will go on to college.
  • Expansion of the Degree Compass program that predicts the subjects and majors in which students will be most successful with $300,000 in the proposed budget.  The program was pioneered at Austin Peay University and is modeled after companies like Netflix, Amazon and Pandora that tailor their recommendations to what their customers are looking for.
  • Creation of an Adult Student Data System to help state colleges and universities – both public and private – do a better job of identifying and recruiting adults that are most likely to return to college and complete their degree with $300,000 in the proposed budget.  There are nearly one million Tennesseans that have some college credit but haven’t earned a certificate or degree.
  • Appointment of a new Director of Workforce Alignment that will work with state departments and local officials.
  • Workforce alignment grants to local communities that have strategic plans in place to connect education institutions with employers with a focus on closing the skills gaps in their area with $10 million in the proposed budget.
  • Changing the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship allotment to incentivize completion by raising the scholarship for two-year schools from $2,000 to $3,000 and shifting the scholarship for four-year schools from $4,000 to $3,000 the first two years and $5,000 the last two years.

 

As part of the address, the governor also discussed his budget proposal for FY 2014-2015.  “This year’s budget is a conservative one,” Governor Haslam said.  “Revenue collections over the past several months have not met projections, and our budget reflects that reality…In Tennessee, education is a top priority, and this budget reflects that.”

 

Highlights of capital investments to support higher education include:

 

  • $13 million to fund the Complete College Outcomes Formula;
  • $63 million to fund capital maintenance projects at institutions across the state;
  • $36.7 million to fund a new Williamson County campus for Columbia State Community College;
  • $28.7 million to fund a new classroom building at Volunteer State Community College.

 

Notable K-12 investments include:

 

  • $63 million to increase teacher salaries as part of the governor’s ongoing effort to make Tennessee the fastest improving state in terms of paying teachers more;
  • $48.6 million dollars to fully fund the BEP formula.

 

Other budget highlights include:

 

  • $1.7 million to fund a new statewide residential drug court in Middle Tennessee;
  • $6.4 million to fund new child protective services and case manager positions as well as other critical children’s services including foster care and adoption assistance;
  • $7 million increase for the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to care for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens;

·        A one percent pay raise for state employees;

·        $40.3 million to the Rainy Day Fund bringing it to $496 million on June 30, 2015;

·        $61 million in Fast Track Infrastructure and Job Training assistance;

·        $6 million for a statewide tourism fund to support the work of the tourism commission.

The complete text of the governor’s speech and an archived video of his speech will be available at www.tn.gov/stateofthestate.


Stokes Photo Book At Zarzours Daily This Week, Other Locations

The Stokes photo book of rare old Chattanooga pictures, which sold out the initial edition of 1,000 copies, will be available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Ave. off Main Street behind Fire Hall #1 this coming week Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. each day. Chattanooga In Photos Around the Turn of the Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection is also available at ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, JERRY QUINCY 727 E. 11TH STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37402 45 Chattanooga AGGRAVATED ROBBERY BATES, AMY LYNN 5924 PORTER DRIVE HARRISON, 37341 29 FAILURE TO APPEAR BELL, SHANE ANTHONY 175 HERITAGE HILLS CIR CLEVELAND, 373120000 19 VIOLATION OF PROBATION (THEFT UNDER 500) BOAS, ... (click for more)

A Letter To The NAACP

I believe when a "unarmed" man is evil, he will try to beat a police officer on his head in hopes to knock him out, in hopes to kill him. We saw the bruises on the officer's face.  This evil force tried to take his gun away from him , Proof was in the autopsy.  Why did Michael Brown  try to take his gun away from him? Exactly, to kill the officer.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last Day Of School

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story first appeared in the Chattanooga News-Free Press in the early 1980s and every year since then I have been asked repeatedly about it. It is easily the most famous story I have ever written – copies have been sent to me from numerous foreign countries -- and it may be the easiest story I ever wrote. All I did was write what the noted religious psychologist ... (click for more)

UTC Cagers Upset No.7 Stanford

"Defense kept us in the game and our fans are great!." UTC sophomore Moses Johnson after the 54-46 win.   The giant killer has done it again. Relying on hustle, determination, key 3-pointers and 10 made free throws down the stretch the Chattanooga Mocs defeated visiting No.7 Stanford women 54-46 Wednesday at McKenzie Arena. Playing before 2,128 cheering ... (click for more)

Vols Land 4-Star JUCO Running Back Alvin Kamara

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has signed junior college four-star running back Alvin Kamara, who is from Norcross, Ga., and originally signed with Alabama and then transferred to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Information on Kamara: ALVIN KAMARA R-Sophomore • Running Back • 5-11 • 200 Norcross, Ga. • Norcross H.S./Alabama/Hutchinson ... (click for more)