Poarch Creek Indians donate $2M to Alabama school systems - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Poarch Creek Indians donate $2M to schools

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians gave a gift of $2 million to two school systems Wednesday afternoon. The recipients of the gift are the Elmore County and Montgomery County public school systems. The money will be equally divided.

The check presenting ceremony took place at the Montgomery Public School offices, and both systems' superintendents, along with other representatives, were on hand.

Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Thompson, looking at the financial strains that have been placed on the education system, thanked the Poarch Creek Indian Tribal Council. "This financial climate has made it difficult to provide the resources that our students and teachers need," she said. More than $37 million has vanished from her budget in the last three years.

"It's wonderful to have committed partners like the Poarch Creek Indians who care about public education and want to invest in our children," she explained. "Their support will help us meet those needs."

Elmore County Superintendent Dr. Jeff Langham was equally pleased with the gift, which both systems will be able to use as they see fit.

"These funds are an unexpected and very welcome gift to all of us connected with the Elmore County Schools," said Langham. "We are extremely grateful to the Tribe for recognizing a need and trying to help." 

A million dollars can help just about any situation, though the Tribe says even that amount won't fix every problem. Still, the Poarch Creek Indians are donating. "If we can at least lessen the effects that the economic downturn has on some of our young people's education," Tribal Chairman Buford L. Rolin explained, "we feel blessed to be able to help." 

The Poarch Creek Tribe says it made the decision to donate the $2 million in January as part of its 2012 discretionary budget. The gift comes a year after the same Tribe gave a $1 million gift to schools in and around Atmore in south Alabama.

The Tribe, the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in Alabama, manages three gaming facilities on land that makes up their own sovereign nation. The facilities include Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore; Riverside Casino in Wetumpka; and, Tallapoosa Casino in Montgomery.

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