Cherokee Nation gives $5.7 million to public schools

Senior Reporter
03/04/2019 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd, Cherokee Nation Tax Commissioner Mike Doublehead, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, and CN Tax Commissioner Fan Robinson prepare for a group photo with Cherokee County public school superintendents on March 1 in Catoosa. The tribe gave $5.7 million of its motor vehicle revenue to schools. D. SEAN ROWLEY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Approximate 2019 funding amounts to schools in each county within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction. The tribe gave $5.7 million to 108 schools on March 1. COURTESY
CATOOSA – Continuing its long-standing efforts to support education throughout its jurisdiction, the Cherokee Nation held a lunch on March 1 for school officials and guests to announce funding awards to districts during its Public School Appreciation Day.

At the gathering in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, CN officials reported the donation of a record $5.7 million to 108 school districts. Each year, the tribe donates 38 percent of revenue generated by car tag sales to public schools.

“We have almost doubled our contributions to the public schools in the last eight years,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “It warms my heart to know that these revenues will be utilized by our future Cherokee leaders…. This money is really your investment, and next year we expect to do even more for local schools.”

With districts battling budget crises since the 2008 recession, Baker said the tag revenue disbursements have helped schools pay expenses that otherwise might not have been met.

“Funding for state and public schools has decreased by nearly nine percent over the last decade,” he said. “Our student enrollment in Oklahoma has increased by more than 8 percent…. Sometimes all a young person needs is an opportunity to achieve something special. As we continue to make our foundation strong at the Cherokee Nation, education and opportunities for our people will remain a strategic priority.”

Numerous superintendents attended and praised the Nation’s efforts to provide budgetary assistance to area schools and enhance students’ educational opportunities.

“Sequoyah Schools very much appreciates the Cherokee Nation giving tag money to help support the budget,” Sequoyah Schools Superintendent Leroy Qualls said. “It is a savior for us because it provides us a way to assist our students with their school activities and functions. We thank the Cherokee Nation for helping us provide a quality education for the students who attend Sequoyah Schools. We certainly would not be able to do as good a job without the tribe’s support.”

Linda Clinkenbeard, Woodall Public Schools superintendent, said the tribe is a community oriented “neighbor.”

“I believe that by providing this money to public schools, the Cherokee Nation sends a loud and strong message around the state that the Cherokee Nation as a whole supports public education and recognizes the importance of investing in its children and communities,” she said. “This is a very generous gift, and I applaud the Cherokee Nation for its continued efforts. Woodall strives to be a good neighbor to the Nation and do our part to grow young people to be confident, well-educated, and strong leaders in our community, state and nation.”

Schools receive money based on the number of CN citizens enrolled, but the tribe does not categorize the funding, and districts can use awards to benefit all students. Schools have used funds to enhance programs, salaries, operations and upgrade technology in past years.

Within the CN jurisdiction, schools have received a total of $56.3 million in tag revenue since 2002.

Cherokee Nation Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston said the tribe was pleased to make this year’s donations and thanked tribal citizens for buying CN car tags.

“This is very important to our schools, to our students, to our families,” Swepston said. “I most want to thank the administration, the (Tribal) Council, and my commission for enabling us to be able to do this. The tax commission has grown over the last few years, and I thank the citizens for that. Every time a citizen buys a tag, that’s 38 percent going back into our schools.”

In 2015, the Tribal Council approved legislation to allow car tag revenue to be given to schools in the non-jurisdictional areas of the five counties that make up the jurisdictional boundary.

2019 Public School Appreciation Day

Adair County

Cave Springs School - $27,454.19

Dahlonegah Public School - $19,556.41

Greasy Public School - $6,769.53

Maryetta Public School - $95,525.55

Peavine Public School - $12,786.89

Rocky Mountain School - $27,830.28

Stilwell Public Schools - $143,664.42

Watts Public Schools - $15,983.61

Westville Public Schools - $92,516.88

Zion Public School - $43,813.89

Total: $485,901.65

Cherokee County

Briggs Public School - $47,574.73

Cherokee Nation Head Start - $27,266.15

Cherokee Nation Immersion - $50,395.37

Cherokee Nation Sequoyah High School - $138,023.14

Grandview Public School - $58,105.11

Hulbert Public Schools - $53,780.13

Keys Public Schools - $62,806.17

Lowrey Public School - $13,915.14

Norwood Public School - $11,470.59

Peggs Public School - $19,180.33

Shady Grove Public School - $15,419.48

Tahlequah Public Schools - $303,876.57

Tenkiller Public School - $28,770.49

Woodall Public School - $47,762.78

Total: $878,346.18

Craig County

Bluejacket Public Schools - $8,837.99

Ketchum Public Schools - $35,916.10

Vinita Public Schools - $95,149.47

Welch Public Schools - $12,222.76

White Oak Public Schools - $1,692.38

Total: $153,818.70

Delaware County

Cleora School - $6,205.40

Colcord Public Schools - $39,488.91

Grove Public Schools - $103,235.29

Jay Public Schools - $104,175.51

Kansas Public Schools - $79,165.86

Kenwood School - $10,718.42

Leach School - $16,547.73

Moseley School - $12,222.76

Oaks Mission Schools - $24,257.47

Total: $396,017.35

Mayes County

Adair Public Schools - $77,285.44

Chouteau-Mazie Schools - $44,754.10

Locust Grove Public Schools - $128,432.98

Osage School - $8,649.95

Pryor Public Schools - $158,143.68

Salina Public Schools - $76,345.23

Wickliffe School - $8,085.82

Total: $501,697.20

Muskogee County

Braggs Public Schools - $10,342.33

Fort Gibson Public Schools - $132,193.83

Haskell Public Schools - $13,162.97

Hilldale Public Schools - $91,388.62

Muskogee Public Schools - $148,553.52

OK School for the Blind - $1,504.34

Oktaha Public Schools - $36,856.32

Porum Public Schools - $31,591.13

Wainwright Public Schools - $2,820.64

Warner Public Schools - $64,122.47

Webbers Falls Public Schools - $19,744.46

Total: $552,280.63

Nowata County

Nowata Public Schools - $44,754.10

Oklahoma Union Public Schools - $36,856.32

South Coffeyville Public Schools - $6,581.49

Total: $88,191.91

Osage County

Osage Hills School - $2,444.55

Ottawa County

Afton Public Schools - $27,454.19

Fairland Public Schools - $29,522.66

Miami Public Schools - $48,702.99

Total: $105,679.84

Rogers County

Catoosa Public Schools - $64,686.60

Chelsea Public Schools - $53,780.13

Claremore Public School - $154,006.75

Foyil Public Schools - $27,454.19

Inola Public Schools - $51,335.58

Justus-Tiawah Schools - $22,377.05

Oologah-Talala Public Schools - $62,806.17

Sequoyah Public Schools - $67,883.32

Verdigris Public Schools - $54,908.39

Total: $559,238.18

Sequoyah County

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


Tulsa County

Berryhill Public Schools - $16,547.73

Bixby Public Schools - $43,813.89

Broken Arrow Public Schools - $270,216.97

Collinsville Public Schools - $90,448.41

Glenpool Public Schools - $38,172.61

Jenks Public Schools - $112,825.46

Keystone Public Schools - $4,513.02

KIPP Schools - $752.17

Liberty Public Schools - $7,897.78

Owasso Public Schools - $185,597.88

Sand Springs Public Schools - $59,797.49

Skiatook Public Schools - $82,174.54

Sperry Public Schools - $34,787.85

Tulsa Arts-Sciences - $2,632.59

Tulsa Public Schools - $109,440.69

Union Public Schools - $81,798.46


Wagoner County

Coweta Public Schools - $60,549.66

Okay Public Schools - $21,436.84

Porter Consolidated Schools - $15,795.56

Wagoner Public Schools - $92,892.96

Total: $190,675.02

Washington County

Bartlesville Public Schools - $115,834.14

Caney Valley Public Schools - $33,659.59

Copan Public Schools - $6,581.49

Dewey Public Schools - $31,215.04

Total: $187,290.26

2019 GRAND TOTAL: $5,728,148.49


Fiscal Year* - Per Student Amount - Students - Awarded

2002 - $70.59 - 17,918 - $1.3 million

2018 - $188.04 - 30,462 - $5.7 million

*Money dispersed the following fiscal year

TOTAL TO DATE: $56.3 million
About the Author
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. 

He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ... • 918-453-5560
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ...


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