TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - Certified teachers at Cherokee Nation’s Sequoyah High School and Cherokee Immersion Charter School are getting an immediate pay raise.

Tribal Council approved the proposal 16-1 during Monday’s Tribal Council meeting.

According to a news release, the 45 certified teachers will get “a $5,000 lump sum payment on March 29 for the current contract year with $5,000 added to the teachers’ base salary on July 1, when the teachers’ new contract year begins.”

Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the state has made drastic cuts to education but teachers’ responsibilities continue to increase.

He hopes this pay raise sends a message to state leaders.

“Cherokee Nation is unwavering in its commitment to public schools, students and teachers. This pay increase reaffirms that commitment and, I hope, sends a message to state leaders that they should follow Cherokee Nation’s lead and raise pay for all certified teachers in the state,” Baker said.

The average salary for certified teachers at these schools is $42, 815.

The announcement of this teacher pay raise comes after several Oklahoma school districts passed resolutions to support teachers and a planned walk-out scheduled for April 2.

Currently, hundreds of educators across the state are “working to contract” meaning they won’t work beyond the hours defined in their contracts. They plan to continue this protest until April 1 - the deadline was given to legislators to pass a bill for a teacher pay raise and education funding.

If that deadline isn’t met, teachers have planned a walk-out beginning April 2.