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
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
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:
Native Sun News: Indian lawmakers achieve goals in Montana (8/3)
Lakota Country Times: Skate competition grows at Pine Ridge (8/3)
Mark Trahant: Appoint tribal delegates to serve in US Congress (8/3)
Delphine Red Shirt: Restore Black Hills peak to its rightful name (8/3)
Dana Lone Elk: Lakota grandmothers hold our society together (8/3)
Steve Russell: The Great White Lion Hunter kills only for thrills (8/3)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Native people endure delays for justice (8/3)
Steven Newcomb: High court still relying on Christian doctrine (8/3)
Navajo Nation couple weighs court challenge to marriage law (8/3)
Alaska Natives deal with toxic legacy in poisoned food supply (8/3)
Arizona cites immunity in Tohono O'odham Nation casino case (8/3)
Fond du Lac Band wants to resolve long-running gaming fight (8/3)
Snoqualmie Tribe hires new chief operating officer for casino (8/3)
Editorial: Seminole Tribe is a good gaming partner for Florida (8/3)
Editorial: Something's gotta give in New England casino race (8/3)
Muscogee Nation activist dangled from bridge to stop oil ship (7/31)
Native Sun News: Rapid City mayor denies claim of retaliation (7/31)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Rapid City mayor's year of retaliation (7/31)
Brandon Ecoffey: Rapid City continues with tradition of racism (7/31)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe leaves people in dark (7/31)
Lakota Country Times: Group seeks to boost Pine Ridge tourism (7/31)
Federal murder charges laid for shooting on Crow Reservation (7/31)
Alex White Plume asks court for permission to plant hemp crop (7/31)
Isleta Pueblo welcomes Secretary Sally Jewell for school event (7/31)
Tribes caught off-guard with mandate from Affordable Care Act (7/31)
Commerce Blog: Secretary Pritzker meets with tribes and youth (7/31)
Tribes in Pacific Northwest 'very worried' about future of salmon (7/31)
Alaska to recognize tribal domestic violence protection orders (7/31)
Moapa Band enters $4.3M settlement for power plant pollution (7/31)
Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Indian Affairs holds first meeting (7/31)
Donald Trump not shy with invoking race when it comes to tribes (7/31)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe sees big future with Class II casino (7/31)
Catawba Nation still waiting for answer on casino land-into-trust (7/31)
Last defendant sentenced in theft case at Yakama Nation casino (7/31)
Senate committee examines costs of substance abuse on tribes (7/30)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee delays vote on land-into-trust (7/30)
BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect (7/30)
Former workers at Choctaw Nation casino plead guilty to theft (7/30)
Inmate charged with murdering Mississippi Choctaw man in jail (7/30)
Native Sun News: Keystone XL Pipeline protest draws big crowd (7/30)
James Giago Davies: Don't judge anyone's depth of Lakotaness (7/30)
Tara Houska: DC rally puts focus on threats to sacred Oak Flat (7/30)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Native mother left to die in a jail cell (7/30)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Native issues you aren't hearing about (7/30)
Peter d'Errico: Seeking action after apology from Pope Francis (7/30)
Suspect in custody over deadly shooting on Crow Reservation (7/30)
Shooting highlights racial tensions on Wind River Reservation (7/30)
Pueblo man goes on trial for brutal murder of Navajo woman (7/30)
Another sentence in Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption scandal (7/30)
Oglala Sioux Tribe on track to complete $16.5M nursing home (7/30)
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.