indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Falmouth Institute Online Training
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Report finds BIA misused school emergency funds
Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has misused millions of dollars in administrative funds, shortchanging Indian schools of money set aside for emergencies, according to a recent internal audit.

Over a three-year period, the BIA used at least $5 million in contingency funds for non-emergency purposes, the Department of Interior's inspector general said in March report. Investigators discovered that emergency funds were used to buy televisions, bean bag chairs, puppets, furniture, computer software, retreats for staff members and other items and services.

"Although these goods and services ultimately supported Indian education programs, the need for these goods and services did not arise from unforeseen or emergency circumstances, and the contingency fund should not have been used for these purposes," the report said.

According to the report, the BIA's Office of Indian Education Programs in Washington, D.C., used the contingency fund "as a discretionary fund for the director of OIEP rather than as monies set aside for emergencies or other unforeseen events." During the time period in question, the director was William Mehojah, who was replaced by Ed Parisian last summer.

The misuse of funds prevented the office from addressing actual emergencies, the audit said. When a school needed $395,000, OIEP was forced to take money away from other schools because the emergency fund had already been used up, according to the report.

Another time, the office spent more emergency money than it was allocated. OIEP "is unable to effectively track, monitor, and report the use of the contingency fund," the report said.

And even when there was money left, OIEP failed to distribute it to needy schools. According to the report, BIA schools are being denied at least $1.3 million due to the office's inadequate accounting procedures.

"OIEP does not follow sound business practices or federal accounting standards for planning, accounting for, and monitoring its use of administrative funds," the audit stated. Other problems included poor planning, negative balances in OIEP accounts and improperly awarded contracts.

In a March 9 letter, assistant secretary Dave Anderson and OIEP agreed with 12 recommendations to establish better financial controls. But Anne L. Richards, a regional audit manager for the Office of Inspector General, said the the response was insufficient and gave the BIA until May 21 to follow up.

The audit is the second time this year that the Inspector General has criticized the BIA's handling of school money. In a February report, investigators found problems with funds used to construct and build BIA schools.

At the same time, the BIA's education funding has been cut by the Bush administration. In fiscal year 2005, education programs will see a reduction of $79 million.

For the years in question under the audit, OIEP's central office budget was about $61 million.

Get the Report:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Indian Education Program Central Office Management of Administrative Funds (March 2004)

Related Reports:
School Construction Program: Improvements Needed To Ensure Safety And Program Performance (February 2004) | 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 press for budget consultation policy (04/15)
Audit finds school construction problems at BIA (04/12)
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)
Anderson takes message to Indian Country youth (2/18)
Anderson asks for prayers in new job as head of BIA (02/05)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Little Shell Tribe gets closer to recognition (4/16)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge fighter prepares for next match (4/16)
Letter from Cobell attorneys on second settlement payment (4/16)
Secretary Jewell to deliver commencement address at SIPI (4/16)
Navajo Code Talker Samuel Smith passes away at age of 88 (4/16)
Nicholet Deschine: KTNN accepts 'hush money' for racial slur (4/16)
Lawsuit claims remains were removed for Jamul Band casino (4/16)
Opinion: Another futile lawsuit against Poarch Creek casinos (4/16)
Native Sun News: Tribes benefit from $5.15B uranium cleanup (4/15)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe marks return of chief (4/15)
DOI extends $1.2M in offers to Makah Reservation landowners (4/15)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee listening session in Montana (4/15)
Ernie Stevens: NIGA won't support racist depictions of Natives (4/15)
Navajo casino enterprise wasn't told of NFL team involvement (4/15)
Steven Newcomb: Scientists lay claim to Kumeyaay ancestors (4/15)
Opinion: Judge delivered 'remarkable opinion' in Cobell lawsuit (4/15)
Umatilla player Shoni Schimmel drafted by Atlanta WNBA team (4/15)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe wins recognition in New Mexico homeland (4/15)
CNN Series: Best places to experience Native American culture (4/15)
Lummi Nation argues for treaty fishing rights in disputed areas (4/15)
Blackfeet Nation heads into election season amid ongoing feud (4/15)
School district on Fort Peck Reservation to redraw voting areas (4/15)
Ojibwe man from Canada charged for possession of wild animals (4/15)
Navajo Technical University creates bachelor's degree program (4/15)
Opinion: Ignorance abounds in dealings with indigenous people (4/15)
Ute Tribe reaches new agreement for use of name by university (4/15)
Seminole Tribe faces $9.9M negligence claim over fall at casino (4/15)
Opponents seek referendum on Tohono O'odham Nation casino (4/15)
Connecticut tribes see another decline in slot machine revenue (4/15)
Four people plead guilty for theft from Minnesota tribal casinos (4/15)
Editorial: No surprise in state's loss in Poarch Creek gaming suit (4/15)
Center: Billions at stake in costly debate over Internet gambling (4/15)
Native Sun News: EEOC won't take up Native woman's complaint (4/14)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe battled labor unions too (4/14)
BIA holds listening sessions on Indian Child Welfare Act guidance (4/14)
Judge won't force Puyallup Tribe to comply with IRS levy request (4/14)
Bryan Brewer: Native people must continue fight for sovereignty (4/14)
Jeff Haozous: Fort Sill Apache Tribe deserves say in New Mexico (4/14)
Jacqueline Keeler: Racist mascot taints urban Indian community (4/14)
Notah Begay's foundation backed out of Navajo golf tournament (4/14)
KTNN under fire for hosting event with football team's foundation (4/14)
Sharon Day: Walking the water to protect our future generations (4/14)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | 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.