Cherokee Nation donates $3.4 million to schools

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Reported by: Janai Norman
Updated: 2/14 6:41 pm Published: 2/14 3:50 pm

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - There is now $3.4 million in the pockets of 91 Green Country school districts.

The Cherokee Nation distributed the funds as part of public school appreciation day.

“They're constantly getting less money for public education. Well, we're giving them more money than we've ever,” said Chief Bill John Baker, of the Cherokee Nation.

The money comes from funds raised with Cherokee Nation license tags. Each year the tribe divides 38 percent of tax revenue from sales amongst schools in these counties based on the number of Cherokee students in each district.

Once districts have the money, FOX23 learned it is used how the district sees fit.

“We don't say you can only use this on Indian Ed programs, we tell them take it, go forth, we're partners in this deal, we're not going to tell you how you have to spend it, because you know your district better than anyone,” said Baker.

Mitch McGee is a grants management administrator with Tulsa Public Schools.

He said while all students could use extra funding, the 63,000 TPS received will only benefit Indian students and programs.

“It gives our Indian Ed kids computers, laptops, iPads, those types of things. Those kids many times come from underprivileged families; they don't have access to some of the resources many of our other kids do have access to,” said McGee.

This year's total amount of $3.4 million is up from last year, and Baker expects it will continue to grow as more people are eligible to buy the license tags.

“All of Tulsa County, all of Wagoner County, all of Muskogee County, and in June we'll spread it out to the entire state of Oklahoma. The more tags we sell, the money we can share,” said Baker.

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