(L-R) Front row: Roland Superintendent Randy Wood, Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner, Speaker Joe Byrd, Cherokee Nation Tax Commissioner Mike Doublehead, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tax Administrator Sharon Swepston, Tax Commissioner Fan Robinson, Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith, Gore Superintendent Lucky McCrary. Back row: Gore encumbrance clerk Belinda Madding, Gore Native Programs representative Rhonda Eagle, Muldrow Superintendent Ron Flanagan, Vian Superintendent Victor Salcedo, Vian Treasurer Ed Brockman, Central Superintendent Larry Henson, Liberty Administrative Assistant Mark Steely, Marble City Superintendent Wade Stafford, Belfonte Superintendent Paul Pinkerton, Moffett Principal Lance Stuart, Gans Principal Regina Brannon, Sallisaw Superintendent Jeremy Jackson, Brushy Principal Carla Fivekiller.
The Cherokee Nation contributed more than $5.7 million to 108 school districts during the tribe’s annual Public School Appreciation Day Friday.
School superintendents from across northeastern Oklahoma gathered at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa for a luncheon and to receive checks from the tribe.
Funds provided to the schools are from the sale of tribal car tags. The Cherokee Nation allocates 38 percent of car tag revenue each year to education, providing a boost to Oklahoma public schools and fill education funding gaps.
“Funds from the sale of Cherokee Nation car tags often act as a lifeline to local school districts that may be struggling financially to meet the needs of students and teachers,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “I am proud of the tribe’s continued investment in our children. By being an invaluable partner to public education in Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation is helping ensure a better future for our families and our communities.”
School districts have total discretion on how to use the funding. In recent years, schools have used the funds to cover teacher salaries, operations, technology improvements or school programs.
Muldrow Public Schools in Sequoyah County received $71,080 this year. The district plans to use the funds from Cherokee Nation to offset the expenses of upgrading and replacing older technology.
“The great relationship the Cherokee Nation and public schools share hopefully will continue to benefit both the Nation and students of our community,” said Muldrow Superintendent Ron Flanagan. “The donation is extremely important in today’s education funding crisis. Cherokee Nation has always been a cooperative partner with us.”
School districts receive money based on the number of Cherokee Nation citizens they have enrolled, though funding benefits all students.
Since 2002, the tribe has awarded school districts in northeastern Oklahoma $56.3 million in education contributions from car tag revenue.
“The Cherokee Nation Tax Commission is grateful to play a role in making a positive impact for these 108 northeast Oklahoma school districts,” Cherokee Nation Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston said. “This $5.7 million will make a big difference in our communities, and I want to thank Cherokee Nation citizens for choosing to purchase a tribal car tag to help make these contributions possible.”
These Sequoyah County schools received funds totaling the following amounts during the 2019 Public School Appreciation Day event:
Belfonte Public School - $14,667.31
Brushy Public School - $33,095.47
Central Public Schools - $39,488.91
Gans Public School - $25,385.73
Gore Public Schools - $38,172.61
Liberty Public School - $12,786.89
Marble City Schools - $11,282.55
Moffett Public School - $6,769.53
Muldrow Public Schools - $71,080.04
Roland Public Schools - $34,787.85
Sallisaw Public Schools - $110,004.82
Vian Public Schools - $87,627.77
Total - $485,149.48
KXMX News Staff
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