indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Audit finds school construction problems at BIA
Monday, April 12, 2004

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has improved in its school replacement and repair program but the agency needs to be more accountable for its spending, an internal audit concluded.

Since 1998, Congress has allocated $680 million to fix and replace aging BIA schools, many of which date to the 1940s and 1950s. To determine whether the money is being spent wisely, the Department of Interior's inspector general reviewed the program for a recent report.

Investigators commended the BIA for generally following an 1999 improvement plan that was drafted due to concerns over misspending. Yet they found several occasions where tribes received millions of dollars "far in excess of current needs."

The Navajo Nation, for example, received $50 million for two school projects that were delayed considerably. The Hopi Tribe received $18.8 million two years ago for a project but has yet to begin construction on it, the report said.

These large payments give the BIA little ability to ensure accountability, the report said. "Further, lump-sum advances can pose an inherent risk of loss or unauthorized use," investigators wrote.

But problems aren't entirely the fault of the tribes. The BIA's Office of Facilities Management and Construction took too long to review and approve designs for school projects, investigators found. As one example, the Meskwaki Tribe in Iowa had to wait six years for its designs to be approved.

"Thirty percent of the schools we reviewed exceeded BIA's goal of completing design and construction within 3 years," the inspector general said.

Even after new schools were constructed, the BIA allowed students to occupy the buildings before a safety analysis was conducted by the Division of Safety and Risk Management, the audit found. "Of the 20 schools we reviewed, 10 were occupied prior to DSRM approval, even though DSRM identified safety deficiencies that had to be corrected," the report stated.

School construction and repair have been a top priority of the Bush administration. Officials say they have requested more money for the program in the past three years than the eight years of the Clinton administration.

But tribal leaders have questioned the Bush administration's commitment in light of a $65 million reduction to the construction and repair account in 2005. "We should not penalize ... tribes who are ready to go and have their land ownership determined and their designs and construction complete in a timely manner," said Tex Hall, president of the National Congress of American Indians.

Ed Parisian, the director of BIA's Office of Indian Education Programs, attributed the cut to delays on the tribal side. He said the White House Office of Management and Budget gave the program a poor rating due to delays in the construction process.

"We've only built four schools in the past couple of years and there are 25 in the design process," he said at a National Indian Education Association meeting last month. "We need to move it up."

The inspector general made nine recommendations to the BIA in hope of improving the program. In a February 24 cover letter to assistant secretary Dave Anderson, regional audit manager Michael P. Colombo said the BIA hadn't responded to the report. He had given the agency until March 26 to respond.

Get the Report:
School Construction Program: Improvements Needed To Ensure Safety And Program Performance (February 2004)

Related Report:
Improvements Needed in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Process for Conducting Background Investigations of Indian Education Employees (March 2004)

Relevant Links:
Office of Indian Education Programs - http://www.oiep.bia.edu

Related Stories:
Tribal leaders denounce BIA budget plans as reckless (03/24)
BIA education programs taking $79 million hit (3/23)
Indian educators meet for legislative summit (3/22)
BIA student struggles familiar ground for Anderson (03/18)
Videotape captured teen's death at boarding school (3/1)
Anderson takes message to Indian Country youth (2/18)
Anderson asks for prayers in new job as head of BIA (02/05)
Drinking said rampant at BIA boarding school in Ore. (01/22)
Autopsy: BIA student died of alcohol poisoning (1/16)
Warm Springs teen dies at BIA boarding school (12/12)
Survey finds high-risk behaviors among BIA students (11/13)
Smoking rates among Natives highest in nation (10/10)
Study links childhood experience to alcohol abuse (09/19)
Indian Country tops drug report again (9/17)
Native youth top drug use survey again (09/06)
Native youth targeted in anti-drug ads (5/17)
Native youth heaviest smokers in nation (4/3)
Report: Native youth highest drug users (10/5)
Ad campaign targets youth drug use (9/7)
Drug use high among Native youth (9/1)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak (3/26)
Native Youth: Bring dental therapy providers to Indian Country (3/26)
Steven Newcomb: Tribal nations still under dominating process (3/26)
Law firm hosts tribes for session on marijuana in Indian Country (3/26)
Judge upholds BIA decision on Oneida Nation land-into-trust bid (3/26)
Appeals court rules against Crow Tribe in housing grant dispute (3/26)
Ho-Chunk Nation raises minimum wage to $2.75 above federal (3/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe to appeal decision in recognition lawsuit (3/26)
Racist emails of former Montana federal judge to be preserved (3/26)
Shingle Springs Band considered but rejected indoor gun range (3/26)
House panel backs bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (3/26)
Quapaw Tribe did not include casino on land-into-trust request (3/26)
Chumash Tribe never got apology for diplomat's casino remark (3/26)
Governor won't sign casino compact with Fort Sill Apache Tribe (3/26)
Cherokee Nation approves $6.9M renovation project for casino (3/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux veteran training for Paralympics (3/25)
Alaska Native musher Chuck Schaeffer completes 2015 Iditarod (3/25)
LTBB News: Michigan tribes come together for historic meeting (3/25)
Lecture focuses on repatriation of tribal intellectual properties (3/25)
Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (3/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair field hearing on drugs in Indian Country (3/25)
Bill for tribal marijuana compacts up for hearing in Washington (3/25)
Choctaw Nation chief hopes to travel to Ireland for monument (3/25)
HHS urged to do more to help tribes with foster care programs (3/25)
Eastern Cherokees work to teach language to new generations (3/25)
Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea (3/25)
Man from Crow Tribe cites self-defense in fatal casino shooting (3/25)
Shawnee Tribe sees opposition to off-reservation gaming plan (3/25)
Navajo Nation signs Class III casino compact with New Mexico (3/25)
Quapaw Tribe insists a casino isn't focus of Arkansas land plan (3/25)
Suquamish Tribe reaches deal to allow highway work at casino (3/25)
House moves quickly on bill to renew Indian housing programs (3/24)
Native Sun News: Tribe pushes boycott of Rapid City newspaper (3/24)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee ready for discussion on Carcieri (3/24)
DOI sends another $34M in offers on Rosebud Sioux Reservation (3/24)
Mary Pember: Alaska Native woman shares story to help others (3/24)
Simon Moya-Smith: NFL team must eliminate racist mascot too (3/24)
Mike Myers: Effects of historical trauma linger in Indian Country (3/24)
Trial opens into Cheyenne River Sioux man's 'KKK' surgical scars (3/24)
Shingle Springs Band vows to resolve concerns about gun range (3/24)
Blood Tribe charges three in response to drug overdose deaths (3/24)
BIA expected to finalize changes to federal recognition process (3/24)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses decision in federal recognition case (3/24)
Delaware Tribe increases minimum wage to $1.25 above federal (3/24)
Bill in Colorado restricts use of Indian mascots in public schools (3/24)
Storied 'Chief Ike' bar to close after 23 years in nation's capitol (3/24)
Fort Peck Tribes expect casino to see traffic from energy boom (3/24)
BIA to host public meeting for Pokagon Band casino in Indiana (3/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.