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Cherokee Nation distributes record amount of $5.7 million to Oklahoma public schools

Posted at 12:59 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 14:21:02-05

CATOOSA, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation distributed a record amount of $5.7 million to more than 100 public schools across northeast Oklahoma.

The tribe held its annual public education appreciation day ceremony and luncheon at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Catoosa on Friday afternoon.

The principal chief presented the checks to each of the 14 counties.

"We believe our investment in education is working for our Cherokee kids in northeastern Oklahoma," said Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

All the funds come from the sale of tribal car tags. The tribe allocates about 38 percent of car tag revenue each year for education.

"Every time we get money, we're pretty happy about it," said Kelly Grimmett, Superintendent of Vinita Public Schools.

He said the money helps fill financial gaps in their budget, which has seen cuts in past years.

"Last year it was somewhere in the $300,000 range. This year it's going to be somewhere in the $400,000 to $600,000 range," said Superintendent Grimmett.

He said they'll be using the funds for operational costs and improvements around the schools to help the more than 1,400 students in the district.

This is the seventh consecutive year the Cherokee Nation contributes during their annual event.

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