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
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
Checks from final payment of Cobell settlement put in the mail (9/16)
DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation (9/16)
House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/16)
Tribal leaders headed to Capitol Hill to push legislative priorities (9/16)
NMAI hosts symposium on treaties to coincide with new exhibit (9/16)
Witnesses: Hearing on bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Rival tribes spend $13M to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Mark Charles: Trail of Tears sign points to much deeper problem (9/16)
Donna Ennis: Don't let ethnic imposters take away our identity (9/16)
Sen. Cantwell to introduce bill to end NFL's tax-exempt status (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe to open first Smashburger location in December (9/16)
Urban Indian population grows in Brazil's poorest neighborhoods (9/16)
Indian family in Washington continues bid for casino on allotment (9/16)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe challenges NLRB jurisdiction over casino (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe loses bid for commercial casino in Massachusetts (9/16)
Connecticut tribes see another decline in slot machine revenues (9/16)
Tim Giago: Standing tall for Native American Day in South Dakota (9/15)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne man beaten by BIA officer (9/15)
Mark Trahant: Ten reasons why every Native person should vote (9/15)
Jay Daniels: Still waiting on that final Cobell settlement payment (9/15)
Vote set on bill to protect Gun Lake Tribe's casino from litigation (9/15)
HUD settles complaint for couple on Turtle Mountain Reservation (9/15)
Bryan Brewer: Approve HR3043 to stop IRS harassment of tribes (9/15)
Maryann McGovran: Vote for North Fork Rancheria's gaming deal (9/15)
Donna Ennis: Tribal banishments are a form of cultural genocide (9/15)
Steven Newcomb: Political meanings restrict indigenous peoples (9/15)
Bruce Anderson: Washington team name preserves stereotypes (9/15)
Column: DC-area Native people oppose NFL team's racist mascot (9/15)
House set to vote on bill to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/15)
Paskenta Band holds election aimed at resolving council dispute (9/15)
Tribes in Oklahoma raise their minimum wage above federal level (9/15)
Blog: Taos Pueblo exerts sovereignty over health care programs (9/15)
Travel: Remote parks on Navajo Nation are an 'extraordinary find' (9/15)
Petitions submitted to put Tohono O'odham Nation casino to vote (9/15)
Dry Creek Rancheria struggling to see gaming revenues recover (9/15)
Poarch Creeks still open to Class III gaming compact discussion (9/15)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation brings jobs with project next to casino (9/15)
Native Sun News: Olympic medalist visits Pine Ridge Reservation (9/12)
Bryan Brewer: Bill for Native language immersion a high priority (9/12)
Sen. Tester applauds approval of final Cobell settlement payout (9/12)
Kenneth Deer: UN meeting an opportunity for indigenous peoples (9/12)
Judge won't issue injunction in Pojoaque Pueblo compact dispute (9/12)
Ex-manager for Shingle Springs Band's casino told to pay $2.4M (9/12)
Briefs filed in lawsuit over United Keetoowah Band's gaming site (9/12)
Quapaw Tribe expands agricultural program at casino restaurant (9/12)
Judge approves motion to distribute Cobell settlement payment (9/11)
Native Sun News: Final Cobell payment might 'almost' be ready (9/11)
Mark Trahant: Affordable Care Act is worthy of debate in election (9/11)
Gyasi Ross: Support Quechan skate park and self-determination (9/11)
Disaster declared after Moapa Paiute Reservation hit by flooding (9/11)
Brian Pierson: Recent federal court decisions affecting Indian law (9/11)
Navajo Nation presidential candidate a target over fluency issue (9/11)
Northern Arapaho Tribe withdraws from joint Wind River council (9/11)
Editorial: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe trying to make budget work (9/11)
University of Utah creates scholarships for students of Ute Tribe (9/11)
Nez Perce Tribe seeks update to historic trail from 1877 journey (9/11)
Miccosukee Tribe seeks removal of judge in dispute with lawyers (9/11)
Jessica Carro: Native people treated like foreigners in Argentina (9/11)
Peru investigates murders of four prominent indigenous leaders (9/11)
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.