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
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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...
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:
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe blasts Trump claim of 'constant contact' (2/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe calls out Trump 'lies' on Dakota Access (2/24)
Native Sun News Today: Pine Ridge residents worried about water (2/24)
Editorial: Shutting down Whiteclay won't address our addictions (2/24)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Indigenous people still struggle in America (2/24)
Steve Russell: To all the indigenous writers being born out there (2/24)
Connecticut tribes plan to announce site for potential new casino (2/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe slams Trump for lack of consultation (2/23)
Native Sun News Today: Tribes asked to participate in 'land grab' (2/23)
Mark Trahant: A victory on Indian health from Washington state (2/23)
James Giago Davies: We've become too proud of our ignorance (2/23)
Cronkite News: Plant closure impacts Hopi and Navajo workers (2/23)
Peter d'Errico: Book is yet another in series of genocide deniers (2/23)
Tanya Lee: Republicans run amok as America focuses on Trump (2/23)
Radio show host in Montana calls Indian basketball fans 'unruly' (2/23)
Congressman who was advocate for Indian Country passes on (2/23)
Yakama Nation debuts hotel as part of $90M casino expansion (2/23)
Meskwaki Tribe ordered to pay damages for incident at casino (2/23)
Indian Country joins legal push to block Dakota Access Pipeline (2/22)
Dakota Access offers up March 6 as earliest date for completion (2/22)
Trump administration opposes injunction against Dakota Access (2/22)
Trump team puts hold on pro-tribal Dakota Access legal opinion (2/22)
Arne Vainio: Finding some medicine in the woods and by the fire (2/22)
Wyoming tribes lose major ruling in reservation boundary case (2/22)
Native Sun News Today: #NoDAPL campsites see their final days (2/22)
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Dakota Access is everything wrong with US (2/22)
United Keetoowah Band interested in pursuing casino in Georgia (2/22)
Kalispel Tribe announces $20M casino expansion in Washington (2/22)
Bureau of Indian Affairs still failing on online security measures (2/21)
Mary Annette Pember: Indigenous people can't ever back down (2/21)
Harold Monteau: Democrats to blame for President Donald Trump (2/21)
Tohono O'odham Nation leaders share concerns about border wall (2/21)
Pacific Northwest tribes finally rebury remains of Kennewick Man (2/21)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe affirms election results after recount (2/21)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe hopes to see return of casino business (2/21)
Bureau of Indian Affairs confirms Wilton Rancheria casino in trust (2/21)
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.