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
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:
National Park Service finalizes rule for tribal gathering of plants (6/30)
Five tribes donate over $500K to Democratic party's convention (6/30)
Bureau of Indian Affairs still hoping to reach land-into-trust goal (6/30)
Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe secures proclamation for 410 acres (6/30)
Seminole Tribe takes a big step forward with land-into-trust bid (6/30)
Tohono O'odham Nation signs health self-governance compact (6/30)
Native Sun News: Lakota and Cheyenne people join forces again (6/30)
Lakota Country Times: Paper continues to reach large audience (6/30)
Cronkite News: Senate committee takes on tribal water issues (6/30)
Dave Archambault: A day for all of Indian Country to remember (6/30)
Vi Waln: Don't let politics get in way of our children's education (6/30)
Leonard Peltier: My last best hope for freedom lies with Obama (6/30)
Shinnecock Nation weighs options to reclaim ancestral territory (6/30)
White Mountain Apache Tribe welcomes 'significant' discovery (6/30)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes press for water pact (6/30)
Mille Lacs Band slams county for ending law enforcement deal (6/30)
County might end Grand Traverse Band land-into-trust appeal (6/30)
Tlingit and Haida Tribes acquire government contracting firm (6/30)
Donald Trump approved Indian gaming attack ads in New York (6/30)
Judge focuses on Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino decision (6/30)
Eastern Cherokee youth push for change in gaming per capita (6/30)
Buena Vista Rancheria signs updated Class III casino compact (6/30)
Connecticut tribes still working on plan for potential new casino (6/30)
Effort builds for missing and murdered Native women and girls (6/29)
Native talent among diverse group asked to join film academy (6/29)
Richard Peterson: New era of tribal-state cooperation in Alaska (6/29)
Mark Trahant: A Native champion on the ballot in South Dakota (6/29)
Lakota Country Times: Outdoor movies a success at Pine Ridge (6/29)
Delphine Red Shirt: American history ignores tribal perspective (6/29)
Gabe Galanda: The growing chorus against tribal disenrollment (6/29)
Woman from Crow Tribe dies after brutal attack on reservation (6/29)
Man charged with murdering girlfriend on Fort Peck Reservation (6/29)
Nooksack Tribe fires elder who spoke out against disenrollment (6/29)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe gets ready for 95th annual powwow (6/29)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation members serve on city commission (6/29)
A Tribe Called Red goes to Alaska next month for Native benefit (6/29)
Sorry but DNA tests cannot confirm a person's Native ancestry (6/29)
Church denies connection to vandalism at Otomi site in Mexico (6/29)
Former Choctaw Nation casino worker gets two months for theft (6/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation shares $1.2M from controversial casino (6/29)
Grande Ronde Tribes consider hotel but not a casino at old track (6/29)
Meskwaki Tribe looks for fugitive reportedly seen at casino hotel (6/29)
Supreme Court puts an end to another tribal jurisdiction dispute (6/28)
Native women hail Supreme Court decision on domestic violence (6/28)
Navajo Nation leaders reflect on historic Supreme Court session (6/28)
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.