The Cherokee Nation recently distributed nearly $3 million to area schools during its Public School Appreciation Day held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma. The 95 schools received $131.94 per Cherokee student that attends, and can use the money however they see fit. There are 22,705 students in the nation's jurisdiction.
The donation comes from a nation law requiring that 38 percent of tax revenue from car tag sales goes to public education.
“The Cherokee Nation Tax Commission is honored to be able contribute to all our students’ education,” said Sharon Swepston, Cherokee Nation Tax Commission administrator, in a release. “We are able to do this by a generous contribution that is received from our citizens who exercised their sovereignty by registering their vehicles with the Cherokee Nation. This revenue is reinvested in the education of our future leaders and community family.”
The nation also donated $315,601 in competitive grants to 14 school districts. That money is intended to go toward programs that promote Cherokee-specific instruction or activities.
"This money is your money," Principal Chief Bill John Baker said before the money was distributed February 20. "It almost brings tears to my eyes, knowing we're about to give about $3 million to schools that need it."