County officials weigh in on the UPike bill

By: Maisie Insko Email
By: Maisie Insko Email

They all support the idea of the University of Pikeville becoming a state university.
But how the university wants to be funded, gets mixed reviews from local judge executives.

"I hope they get the money but I hope they don't take the money that people in Perry, Leslie, Letcher and other counties who need it for projects.">

A proposed bill would use $6 million dollars in coal severance funding in the first year of operation under the state system, then $13 million dollars a year for the next ten years; taking tax money from twelve counties that would become the universities service area.

"Coal severance money is basically designated for all the coal counties, not specifically Pike County and those counties that border them." says Bell County Judge Executive, Albey Brock.

But not everyone is opposed to using coal severance money to fund the university. Knott County Judge Executive Randy Thompson says his county has never received a dime of coal severance money since he has been in office, so why not use it for education in the area.

"Here's an opportunity to guarantee it will be coming back and helping students from several counties of all eastern Kentucky and I can't think of a better thing to invest in than our children’s education." he says.

Ultimately, it is up to our state lawmakers to decide what option is the best and so far the future of UPike is still up in the air.

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