Senator Yager Presents Documentation To Governor In Support for Continued State Funding For York Institute

State Senator Ken Yager announced last week that he had sent a letter to Governor Bill Haslam, along with several pages of documentation to validate the state’s commitment  to fund York Institute as a Special School.

Earlier this year, Governor Haslam announced that while funding was in the budget to support York for the 2013-14 fiscal year, that the State of Tennessee would be transitioning the school back to Fentress County on July 1, 2014.

Following is a copy of Senator Yager’s letter to the governor, which was also endorsed by State Representatives Kelly Keisling and John Mark Windle:


March 7, 2013


Governor Bill Haslam

1st Floor, State Capitol

Nashville, TN 37243


Dear Governor:


When we last discussed York Agricultural Institute (York), you invited me to validate the state’s commitment to fund York as a Special School.

Since 1925 the Tennessee Government has been involved with York. Called upon by the State Board of Education, the Attorney General confirmed this relationship when he opined in 1936 that “there can be no question but that the management of. . . . (York) . . . rests upon the state Board of Education . . . . (Attachment 6) As a result of the opinion the Board took control of the operation of York in August, 1936, adopting a budget, selecting a principal and creating a new curriculum. (Attachment 6)


The General Assembly codified the opinion in Chapter 33 of the 1937 (Chapter 33) Public Acts added York to the Department of Education and stated that, “The state Board of Education shall continue to supervise the administration of the state teachers’ colleges and normal schools and the Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute; provided, that hereafter the Department of Administration shall prescribe the budgetary, accounting and financial reporting procedures for these colleges and schools.” (Attachment 8)


I call to your attention the unprecedented act of Governor Browning who approved and signed the particular amendment to Chapter 33 including York.  (See Attachment 8)


My House colleagues who represent York join me on this letter and submit it with attachments to demonstrate the clear commitment of the legislature and Governor Browning to support York financially and administratively.


The Alvin C. York Institute is the most successful model for rural education in the history of the state.  It represents a commitment to Sergeant York and the rural children of upper East Tennessee.

We appreciate the full funding in the proposed 2014 budget and ask you to continue to honor this commitment with an annual appropriation of recurring funds.


Thank you for giving us this opportunity to share this information and for the great job you are doing as Governor.




Ken Yager



Kelly Keisling



John Mark Windle