Cherokee Nation contributes record $5.7M to 108 school districts

Cherokee Nation contributes record $5.7M to 108 school districts 

Sale of tribal car tags provides more than $1M to Tulsa County school districts

Front row: Liberty encumbrance clerk Trista Bradley, Bixby Superintendent Rob Miller, Liberty dean of students Tom Ballenger, Tribal Councilor Keith Austin, Tribal Councilor Dick Lay, Cherokee Nation Tax Commissioner Mike Doublehead, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, State Department of Education Executive Director of American Indian Education Julian Guerrero Jr., Tax Administrator Sharon Swepston, Tax Commissioner Fan Robinson, Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen, Jenks Native American Education Coordinator Amy McKenzie. Back row: Tulsa Executive Director of Language and Cultural Services Dr. Laura Grisso, Liberty Business Manager Robin Weaver, Glenpool Superintendent Jerry Olansen, Glenpool Assistant Superintendent Mona Smith, Union Director of Federal Programs Sherri Fair, Collinsville Indian Education Director Janice Fields, Collinsville Superintendent Lance West, Skiatook Superintendent Rick Thomas, Sperry Director of Instruction Brent Core, Sand Springs CFO Greg Morris, Jenks CFO Cody Way, Jenks Executive Diretor of Student Services Amy Hudson, Tulsa Public Schools representative Deidre Prevett.


03/01/2019 – TULSA, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation contributed more than $5.7 million to 108 school districts during the tribe’s annual Public School Appreciation Day Friday.

School superintendents from across northeastern Oklahoma gathered at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa for a luncheon and to receive checks from the tribe.

Funds provided to the schools are from the sale of tribal car tags. The Cherokee Nation allocates 38 percent of car tag revenue each year to education, providing a boost to Oklahoma public schools and fill education funding gaps.

“Funds from the sale of Cherokee Nation car tags often act as a lifeline to local school districts that may be struggling financially to meet the needs of students and teachers,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “I am proud of the tribe’s continued investment in our children. By being an invaluable partner to public education in Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation is helping ensure a better future for our families and our communities.”


School districts have total discretion on how to use the funding. In recent years, schools have used the funds to cover teacher salaries, operations, technology improvements or school programs.

Skiatook Public Schools in Tulsa County received $82,174 this year. The district plans to use the funds to support staffing levels.

“As always, we appreciate the Cherokee Nation’s commitment to public schools,” said Skiatook Superintendent Rick Thomas. “The money we receive each year goes into our general fund operations account. This allows us to maintain the level of staffing for reading programs in our district.”

Union Public Schools received $81,798 and will use the tribal dollars for a variety of purposes, including to pay certified teachers to tutor Native American students.

“This donation is vital to support our Native American programs,” said Sherri Fair, Union Public Schools director of federal programs. “Without these crucial funds, tutoring services for our Native students would be drastically reduced. We are grateful for the relationship we have with the Cherokee Nation and the opportunities provided.”


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


Since 2002, the tribe has awarded school districts in northeastern Oklahoma $56.3 million in education contributions from car tag revenue.

“The Cherokee Nation Tax Commission is grateful to play a role in making a positive impact for these 108 northeast Oklahoma school districts,” Cherokee Nation Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston said. “This $5.7 million will make a big difference in our communities, and I want to thank Cherokee Nation citizens for choosing to purchase a tribal car tag to help make these contributions possible.”

These Tulsa County schools received funds totaling the following amounts during the 2019 Public School Appreciation Day event:

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

Total – $1,141,417.54

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