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Cherokee Nation contributes record $7.5M to 107 school districts throughout Northeast Oklahoma

Front row (L-R): District 13 Councilor Joe Deere, Treasurer Janees Taylor, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Secretary of State Tina Glory Jordan, Chief of Staff Corey Bunch, Speaker of the Council of the Cherokee Nation Mike Shambaugh. Second row: Tax Commissioner Fan Robinson, Tax Commission Chairman Steve Wilson, Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston, Tax Commissioner Michael Doublehead, Education Services Executive Director Mark Vance, Education Services Deputy Executive Director Aaron Emberton. Third row: District 10 Councilor Melvina Shotpouch, District 8 Councilor Shawn Crittenden, District 5 Councilor E.O. Smith, District 2 Councilor Candessa Tehee, District 15 Councilor Danny Callison. Back row: District 6 Councilor Daryl Legg, District 1 Councilor Rex Jordan, Deputy Speaker of the Council of the Cherokee Nation Victoria Vazquez, District 14 Councilor Keith Austin, District 12 Councilor Dora Patzkowski, District 7 Councilor Joshua Sam, At-Large Councilor Johnny Kidwell.

Thursday, April 7, 2022 - The Cherokee Nation is contributing $7.5 million to 107 school districts as part of the tribe’s annual Public School Appreciation Day initiative. This year’s disbursement is the largest since the tribe began its annual contributions in 2002.

Aside from the millions of dollars the Cherokee Nation provides to the state of Oklahoma for education funding each year through gaming, the Cherokee Nation also allocates 38 percent of its annual car tag revenue directly to education.

“This year, the Cherokee Nation is once again setting a new record by contributing nearly $7.5 million to 107 school districts in Northeast Oklahoma. This is more than $1 million above last year’s contribution. In total, Cherokee Nation has provided more than $76 million to public education since 2002 through the sale of tribal car tags,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The past two years have been unlike any other in modern history, and the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of working together as community partners to move forward together. I am proud of our longstanding partnerships with school districts in Northeast Oklahoma, and I know our investment in public education means we are all in it together.”

Each school district makes the decision on how to use the funding provided by the Cherokee Nation. In past years, schools have used the funds to cover teacher salaries, upgrade facilities, support operations, expand technology and bolster school programs. During the past two years, many schools used the previous contributions to help respond and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

“The weight we place on the shoulders of our teachers and school administrators is already heavy, but during a global pandemic, that weight only increased. We asked our schools to adapt quickly to an ever-changing situation, and we all had to learn how to navigate the pandemic together,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “Because of Cherokee Nation’s annual car tag contribution to schools, we were able to help them weather the pandemic as safely as possible while ensuring students continued to learn and grow. I am proud of our schools for finding innovative ways to adapt. It takes all of us using our talents and callings to step up and lead the way for our children, and with these tribal funds, schools should have more resources to help them succeed.”

School districts receive money based on the number of Cherokee Nation citizens they have enrolled, yet funding benefits all students.

“The Cherokee Nation Tax Commission is proud to play a role in helping schools throughout Northeast Oklahoma make positive and lasting impacts on their students and communities,” Cherokee Nation Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston said. “Once again, the support of Cherokee citizens and the hard work of our tax commission staff have helped us provide a record-breaking contribution, and I want to thank Cherokee citizens for choosing to purchase a tribal car tag.”

Funding totals by county include the following:

Adair County - $598,929

Cherokee County - $1,056,989

Craig County - $182,074

Delaware County - $532,328

Mayes - $621,209

Muskogee County - $718,954

Nowata County - $115,233

Osage County - $4,072

Ottawa County – $129,129

Rogers County - $760,639

Sequoyah County - $617,855

Tulsa County - $1,646,096

Wagoner County - $234,061

Washington County – $251,550

KXMX Staff Writer

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