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Judge executives debate UPIKE

By: Maisie Insko Email
By: Maisie Insko Email

Should the University of Pikeville become the state’s ninth public university?

That was the answer our Neil Middleton was searching for during Monday night's Issues and Answers program.

He talked to local county officials who are both for and against a proposal to use coal severance dollars to make it happen.

A proposed bill would use multi-county coal severance money to lower UPIKE’s tuition so it can become a part of the state system.

The use of that money has local judge executives talking who are on both sides of the issue.

They all agree on one thing...the idea.

"There is no judge against Pikeville College, you know truly against Pikeville College,” Perry County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble said.

But when it comes to using multi county coal severance money to make it happen opinions differ. Some are for...

"The multi- county coal money is strictly for economic development,” Floyd County Judge Executive R.D. “Doc” Marshall said.

"What an opportunity this is and it only takes nine to eleven million of that twenty million,” Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said.

Others are against.

"One of the concerns we have is that it is guaranteed, it is fourteen million and it is indefinite. Those three things have to be adjusted, it cannot be guaranteed,” Harlan County Judge Executive Joe Grieshop said.

Rutherford responded, “Now Joe you realize there is only ten years that you can obligate this money for.”

No matter the opinion, right now it is currently up to state legislators to decide UPIKE’s fate.

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