Skip to main content

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. — Inflationary costs and few new state dollars will make managing the University of Tennessee a challenge, UT’s president told the board of trustees Friday.

Dr. Joe Johnson said the state’s $16.6 billion budget for next fiscal year recommends only $25 million in new operating money for higher education. Of the total, the UT system would receive $5.5 million.

Johnson said the Tennessee Higher Education Commission is revising its formula to equalize funding percentages among the state’s campuses. As a result, the budget has no new dollars for UT-Knoxville.

“I understand THEC’s logic but it hurts severely,” Johnson said. “It makes it very difficult to manage, particularly at UT-Knoxville, due to inflationary costs.”

The capital outlay budget recommends $28 million for an engineering, mathematics and computer science building at UT-Chattanooga and $500,000 in planning funds for the renovation of Glocker Business Administration Building at UT-Knoxville.

The board also approved a $12 million capital maintenance budget recommendation for 10 UT improvement projects across the state.

The board:

–approved a reorganization of the college of education at UT-Knoxville. The college moves from 11 areas of specialization to six departments.

–was told work on the transfer of UT Medical Center in Knoxville to a not-profit corporation is continuing. The state Attorney General is reviewing a proposed transfer contract.

— was given an update on UT’s bid to manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The university and Battelle are primary partners seeking to win the ORNL contract. Johnson said if the bid is successful, UT would focus on the lab’s scientific programs and Battelle on management of the facility.