Although no specific budget cuts have been formally proposed, the Cherokee Central School Board convened on the evening of Tuesday, September 5th, to address a revised budget projection for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Three Tribal Council representatives attended the meeting to apprise the School Board of a newly revealed budget challenge.
In attendance at Tuesday’s meeting were Painttown Representative Michael Stamper, Wolftown Representative Mike Parker, and Yellowhill Representative David Wolfe. They conveyed the news that the EBCI tribal government is anticipating a projected deficit of $75 million, marking a decrease from $515 million in the previous fiscal year to $440 million in the upcoming fiscal year. It’s important to note that these figures are based on projections and not finalized amounts.
The Cherokee Central Schools received $11 million in funding from the EBCI in the previous year and are requesting $14 million for the current year. Representatives from the School Board expressed their profound commitment to the school and its pressing needs. Superintendent Girty mentioned that the school currently has 37 job vacancies, with 27 of them directly related to education.
Representative Stamper empathized with the challenges faced by public schools, acknowledging the common struggles within government processes. He conveyed appreciation for the dedication and passion demonstrated by everyone at the meeting, underscoring the importance of collective awareness and collaboration moving forward.