indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: A ride-along with a South Dakota county sheriff (4/17)
Lakota Country Times: Sen. Tester pushes for tribal college funds (4/17)
Native Sun News: Walk hits uranium mining sites on reservations (4/17)
Brandon Ecoffey: Vincent Brewer was a family man and a cowboy (4/17)
Delphine Red Shirt: Restoring our sacred peak to its original name (4/17)
Clara Caufield: A faithful servant to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe (4/17)
Steve Russell: Shocking students with the truth about US history (4/17)
Sunnie Clahchischiligi: Get on board with Ho-Chunk Nation player (4/17)
Navajo Nation candidates enter final stretch of bumpy campaign (4/17)
Man from Tulalip Tribes enters not guilty plea to firearms charge (4/17)
Colorado lawmaker continues tradition of bolo ties on Capitol Hill (4/17)
Editorial: End discrimination against Native Americans in Michigan (4/17)
Editorial: Virginia's tribes need federal recognition from Congress (4/17)
Indiana lawmakers not so welcoming to Pokagon Band casino bid (4/17)
Arizona agency threatens to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (4/17)
Kansas seeks injunction to stop Quapaw Tribe gaming expansion (4/17)
Mohegan Tribe's casino enterprise named one of best employers (4/17)
Native Sun News: Senate field hearing focuses on tribes and coal (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Program brings healthy food to Pine Ridge (4/16)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Death rituals among the Mohawk people (4/16)
James Giago Davies: Just another crazy breed Lakota in the IHS (4/16)
Karin Eagle: UNITY media summit draws people to reservation (4/16)
Walt Lamar: Addicts in Indian Country turning to spiked heroin (4/16)
Congress passes renewal of Indian Country diabetes program (4/16)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee takes up tribal labor measure (4/16)
Sen. Barrasso highlights 100 days of work on Indian legislation (4/16)
Alaska to make changes to Indian Child Welfare Act procedures (4/16)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe council meeting ends in shouting match (4/16)
Manitoba agrees to pay funeral bill for murdered Native woman (4/16)
New York City approves marker where Indian slaves were sold (4/16)
President of Rosebud Sioux Tribe removed after ethics hearing (4/16)
Colorado House approves bill to restrict use of Indian mascots (4/16)
Lumbee Tribe remains in long quest to gain federal recognition (4/16)
Senate votes to confirm Jonodev Chaudhuri as leader of NIGC (4/16)
Letter raises legal issues for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (4/16)
Mohegan Tribe went to South Korea to discuss potential casino (4/16)
Quapaw Tribe faces opposition over possible casino in Arkansas (4/16)
Colville Tribes plan ceremonial debut of $68M casino next month (4/16)
Rincon Band contributes $9.5M to highway projects near casino (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux district endorses marijuana (4/15)
Native Sun News: Candidates to debate on tribal college campus (4/15)
Native Sun News: Former police chief runs for Rapid City mayor (4/15)
Mark Trahant: Millions of Native Americans wait on health care (4/15)
Dana Lone Elk: Francis Pumpkin Seed always had a bright smile (4/15)
Stephen Pevar: Tribes and families fight back with ICWA lawsuit (4/15)
Paul Moorehead: Tribes need greater control of their own lands (4/15)
Obama to visit city near Sisseton Wahpeton Reservation in May (4/15)
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes host honoring for Suzan Shown Harjo (4/15)
DOI issues $10.5M in offers on Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (4/15)
Navajo Nation signs buy-back cooperative agreement with DOI (4/15)
Indian arts organization seeks replacement for top executive (4/15)
National Park Service releases eight grants for NAGPRA efforts (4/15)
Bill introduced in Senate to support placing woman on $20 bill (4/15)
Judge Judy chooses reservation school for graduation speech (4/15)
Museum named after famed Pueblo woman artist closes doors (4/15)
Quick justice for assault of woman on Chitimacha Reservation (4/15)
WBUR: Reporter discusses youth suicide in Oglala Sioux Tribe (4/15)
Editorial: Agua Caliente Band can help ease tensions over land (4/15)
BIA hears from public on Pokagon Band gaming plan in Indiana (4/15)
Fond du Lac Band spars with city over services for urban casino (4/15)
Seminole Tribe faces complaints over business deals at casino (4/15)
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.