May 2, 2018
BROOKS, CA (May 2, 2018) – The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, through its Doyuti T’uhkama partnership, is providing $2.6 million to fund critical maintenance and infrastructure improvements for the Esparto Unified School District (EUSD).
(L to R): Burnam R. Lowell, Sr. Yocha Dehe Tribal Council Member, James Kinter, Tribal Secretary; Mia Durham, Tribal Council Member; Debbie Howard, EUSD Asst. Superintendent; Anthony Roberts, Tribal Chairman; Matthew Lowell, Jr., Tribal Treasurer; Bonnie Simas, EUSD School Board Member; Diego Ochoa, EUSD Superintendent
Doyuti T’uhkama, which means “to give the acorn” in Patwin, was established by Yocha Dehe to oversee the distribution of “compact credits” available under the Tribe’s 2016 gaming compact with the State of California.
“The goal in creating Doyuti T’uhkama was to provide a pathway to ensure the benefits of gaming at our Cache Creek Casino Resort are felt directly in our local community and throughout our ancestral territory,” said Anthony Roberts, Yocha Dehe Tribal Chairman and Doyuti T’uhkama Board Member. “There is perhaps no more direct way to have a positive, enduring impact on our community, both today and tomorrow, than through improvements to facilities that educate our children. We are honored to be able to partner with EUSD to make this happen.”
Over the last ten years, EUSD has accrued a $3.5 million shortfall in deferred maintenance, in part because the state changed how it funds school facilities. Most of this responsibility now falls on local districts that depend on fees from new development.
EUSD plans to apply this $2.6 million to a wide range of needs including renovating interior learning environments and eating facilities, revitalizing playgrounds, and installing ADA compliant walkways. EUSD has raised additional needed funds through other grants and local partnerships.
“The Esparto Unified School District Board of Education is in awe of the generosity shown by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation,” said Pam Miller, President of the EUSD School Board. “These grant funds will greatly support our efforts to provide children in our community with safe school campuses, updated food services, and accessible play areas. Our focus will be to feed all children healthy meals, give all children safe places to play, and increase school pride. I am honored to accept these funds on behalf of the children and families in our community.”
Yocha Dehe has a deep connection with the town of Esparto and has long supported education and quality of life initiatives in the community. Since Doyuti was created just over a year ago, it has provided some $26 million in grants. $4.8 million has been allocated to seven rural community projects in the Capay Valley area. Among those is $1.5 million for an aquatic and recreational facility adjacent to Esparto High School.
The “compact credits” that are the source of this Yocha Dehe funding were a key provision in its 2016 Tribal-State Gaming Compact. During compact negotiations, the Tribe asked for and received the ability to redirect a significant portion of the gaming revenue it normally sends to the state to a range of causes and initiatives it identifies, including local economic development and revitalization.
Doyuti T’uhkama was created to manage the process of reviewing and approving these “compact credit” grants. www.yochadehe.org/doyuti.
Further information on the Esparto Unified School District can be found at: www.espartok12.org