At its annual Public School Appreciation Day on April 12, the Cherokee Nation awarded checks totaling $3.2 million to 92 school districts in northeastern Oklahoma. The badly needed funding will benefit nearly 24,000 students within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction area.

Each year, the tribe allocates 38 percent of its tax revenues from tribal car tags to area schools. The unrestricted grants, totaling almost $30 million since 2002, are awarded on a per-student basis and come with “no strings attached,” according to Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

“I believe the superintendents know best what the needs of their districts are,” said Baker. “We are providing additional funds to address the needs of your schools and it allows us to help fill the gaps in your budgets.”

This year, however, the tribe is adding an additional $300,000 in support of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, which will include robotics kits, teacher-coaches and two-day teacher institute professional development workshops, through Cherokee Nation Education Services.


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