indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tribal sovereignty foe in charge of nation's environmental agenda (2/20)
Trump gets another extension in Supreme Court tribal casino case (2/20)
Senate finally ready to consider nomination of Ryan Zinke for DOI (2/20)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on Trump 'priorities' (2/20)
Tim Giago: Our Lakota children are dying while we wring our hands (2/20)
Mark Trahant: Indian programs gain 'high risk' label at worst time (2/20)
Native Sun News Today: 'Haven For Hope' proposed for homeless (2/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: 'Civilization' aims to alienate Native America (2/20)
Cronkite News: Navajo leader pleads to Trump to help power plant (2/20)
André Cramblit: Sorry but Indian Country just got 'Trumped' again (2/20)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Sen. Hoeven raises red flags in Indian Country (2/20)
Peter d'Errico: Indian Country's 'trustee' isn't trustworthy anymore (2/20)
Raymond Hitchcock: The facts about Wilton Rancheria's casino plan (2/20)
Wilton Rancheria seeks to join lawsuit as gaming site is put in trust (2/20)
Tribes find common ground with Trump on Supreme Court nominee (2/17)
Bureau of Indian Affairs issues 'trespass' notice to #NoDAPL camp (2/17)
Hearing on injunction against Dakota Access moved to February 28 (2/17)
Native Sun News Today: Drilling test in treaty territory stirs concern (2/17)
Editorial: Presidents on Mount Rushmore didn't treat tribes so well (2/17)
Native women pushing for action on missing and murdered sisters (2/16)
Army Department formally cancels Dakota Access Pipeline review (2/16)
Native Sun News Today: Dakota Access firms see spills, explosions (2/16)
James Giago Davies: Tribes face bigger threat than Dakota Access (2/16)
Cronkite News: Navajo school official worried about Trump era cuts (2/16)
Monte Mills: Tribes turn to courts to battle Dakota Access Pipeline (2/16)
Steven Newcomb: Dakota Access marks growth of imperial empire (2/16)
Vena A-dae Romero: Bringing our tribes out of obesity & diabetes (2/16)
Gyasi Ross: Native and African people share history of resistance (2/16)
Mohegan Tribe announces resignation of top gaming executive (2/16)
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians secures funding for casino hotel (2/16)
Standing Rock leader vows to 'forgive' after White House slight (2/15)
Native women host briefing on missing, murdered women & girls (2/15)
Native Sun News Today: Vic Runnels was an artist for all seasons (2/15)
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.