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
BIA school spending hard to justify, report finds
Friday, September 5, 2003

The Bureau of Indian Affairs spends more per student than the national average but lacks sufficient data to determine whether the money is adequate, according to a Congressional report released on Thursday.

BIA's schools received more than $600 million in federal funds last year, the General Accounting Office (GAO) said. About $500 million came from the Department of Interior while about $140 million was provided by the Department of Education, figures show.

Overall, the BIA spends an average of $9,167 per student at the 112 day schools it operates, Congressional investigators said. The amount was higher than the national average of $6,617 per student.

But by looking at BIA schools in Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and similar public schools in the same states, GAO found that spending was on par. BIA allocated $10,140 per student compared to $10,358 per student in the public schools.

"This similarity, however, does not ensure adequacy," the report said, noting that the BIA allocates more for non-teaching areas. "[A]ll the BIA schools we visited spent less on instruction and more on facilities than their public school counterparts," GAO said.

Certain factors also mean BIA students aren't receiving the same bang for their buck as public school students, according to GAO. "BIA schools contend with very high poverty rates, large numbers of students with limited English proficiency, isolation, and many less than adequate facilities, all of which are associated with the high costs of education," the report said.

Getting to the bottom of BIA's budget proved somewhat of a challenge for Congressional investigators. The six formulas BIA uses to distribute money appear to be fair, GAO said, but the lack of sufficient data made it difficult to determine "the overall adequacy of the formulas."

In particular, the formula for transportation is almost certainly inadequate, GAO said. About 40 percent of all BIA schools spent more money transporting students than they were allocated in school year 2001-2002, the report stated.

"[S]ome schools made up [transportation] shortfalls by spending money from funds primarily intended for instruction," GAO found.

The government also lacks complete expenditure data for two-thirds of Indian Country schools because they are operated by tribes through contracts or grants. "The expenditure data BIA collects does not reveal in detail how funds are actually spent," the report said.

To improve accountability and ensure schools are receiving enough money, the report makes several recommendations. BIA should collect more data for all schools, whether tribally-operated or not, GAO urges.

BIA should improve the transportation formula, the report recommends. And the agency should conduct a top-to-bottom review "to identify and allocate all costs of administering BIA-funded schools," including how much BIA's central office and regional offices spend, GAO says.

In a response to the report, acting assistant secretary Aurene Martin said BIA agreed with recommendations to collect more data. But she said Congress has to modify existing law in order to require tribes to provide more data about their expenditures.

"We would be happy to work with Congress to development amendments which would provided appropriation information," she wrote in the August 28 comment letter.

Martin said a group of federal and Indian representatives was working on a change to the transportation formula. The No Child Left Behind Act negotiated rulemaking committee has its final meeting later this month.

The BIA school system consists of 171 day schools and 14 dormitory-based schools. About 48,000 students attend the schools, 70 percent of which are located on or near reservations in Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Get the Report:
Expenditures in Selected Schools Are Comparable to Similar Public Schools, but Data Are Insufficient to Judge Adequacy of Funding and Formulas (September 4, 2003)

Related GAO Reports:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools: New Facilities Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data Accuracy Needed (July 31, 2003) | School Facilities: Reported Condition and Costs to Repair Schools Funded by Bureau of Indian Affairs (December 1997) | BIA and DOD Schools: Student Achievement and Other Characteristics Often Differ from Public Schools (September 2001)

Relevant Links: Office of Indian Education Programs, BIA - http://www.oiep.bia.edu

Related Stories:
BIA makes changes at Indian education office (08/07)
GAO finds data problems with BIA system (08/04)
Controversial BIA school proposal dropped (05/16)
Leave no Indian child behind (5/15)
Court to decide limits of trust duty (4/23)
Bush school proposal faces tribal debate (3/19)
McCaleb: Bush helping education (3/7)
Bush proposal strips BIA of education (2/5)
Bush school proposal criticized (2/5)
GAO report finds failing BIA schools (10/29)
Final BIA school goes online (8/24)
Norton, McCaleb to address Indian educators (7/23)
Norton pushes Indian school construction, reform (7/17)
Norton to visit Indian school (7/16)
Norton to visit Indian Country (4/25)
Tribal Schools on Priority List (2/16)

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Mark Trahant: States complain to Senate about burdens of Indian health care
Cronkite News: Tribal leaders focus on marijuana industry at NIGA conference
The Conversation: Collaboration can help with Canada's indigenous water crisis
Museum acquires tribal collection from religious college with troubled record
President Trump headed to Alabama to campaign for land-into-trust opponent
Key Republican revives bill to strip Bureau of Indian Affairs of recognition powers
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians choose Leonard Forsman as new president
California Tribal College names Blackfeet Nation citizen Billie Jo Kipp as president
Mark Trahant: Indigenous community in Dominica takes major hit from hurricane
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation shares more than $444K with our public schools
Democracy Now: Judges try to end legal defense program for #NoDAPL resisters
Cronkite News: Republicans in Senate aim for vote on Obamacare replacement
Mary Annette Pember: Native advocate can't trust Trump team due to instability
Dakota Access enters settlement for 'unanticipated discovery' of tribal artifacts
Navajo Nation plans to sue Trump administration to protect Bears Ears in Utah
Grand Portage Band celebrates trust status for 145-acre island at Lake Superior
Suquamish Tribe looks to address homelessness on reservation with tiny houses
Seneca Nation prepares for arbitration in gaming dispute with state of New York
YES! Magazine: Program aims to bring Native perspective into the classrooms
Cronkite News: Senate committee takes up bill to combat online sex trafficking
Yankton Sioux Tribe blasts police officers for use of force against elderly citizen
Former Indian Country editor blames demise on non-Indian gaming operations
Blackfeet Nation reaches deal to acquire assets of troubled town on reservation
Nottawaseppi Huron Band arrests casino patron who left son at home to gamble
Forest County Potawatomi Community names chief executive officer for casino
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe claims victory in long-running state taxation fight
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs reschedules hearing on human trafficking
Secretary of Health and Human Services continues outreach in Indian Country
Seminole Tribe secures emergency declaration in response to Hurricane Irma
New Yorker features Meskwaki word-songs performed by poet Ray Young Bear
Mark Trahant: Another Republican health care bill fails to help Indian Country
YES! Magazine: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate takes steps toward food sovereignty
Native Sun News Today: Proclamation calls for action on Black Hills land claim
Chitimacha Tribe signed treaty with France at New Orleans nearly 300 years ago
Chris Feliciano Arnold: Indigenous people again at risk with mining rush in Brazil
Connecticut tribes can't get clear answer from Trump team on bid for new casino
White Earth Nation sticks by casino project despite delay in environmental review
Osage Nation secures landmark decision in dispute over construction of wind farm
Tim Giago: South Dakota continues to ignore history with annual buffalo roundup
Mark Trahant: Three fights ahead for the Native vote in United States and Canada
Native Sun News Today: Black Hills Unity Concert honors #NoDAPL participants
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Defending freedom of the press in Indian Country
YES! Magazine: Pueblo activists challenge annual depiction of Spanish 'conquest'
Cronkite News: Plans move forward to cull bison in Grand Canyon National Park
Secretary Zinke goes against tribal interests with monument recommendations
Alaska Natives bring communities together with unique recipes out of cake mix
Trump administration moves to open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling
Shingle Springs Band wins reversal of $30 million judgment in gaming dispute
Osage Nation celebrates construction milestone for $150 million casino project
Another sentence handed down in theft of gaming funds within Winnebago Tribe
Native Sun News Today: Police officers cleared in shooting of Oglala Sioux citizen
James Giago Davies: Be kind to every Lakota you meet and don't turn on each other
Trump administration embraces spending bill with increases for Indian programs
Cronkite News: Trump administration cites progress on 'high risk' tribal programs
Native Sun News Today: Family seeks justice for Pine Ridge Reservation murder
Ivan Star Comes Out: Yet another incident of racism at a restaurant in Rapid City
Another fatal accident in Nebraska linked to alcohol sales near reservation border
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate citizens share original works with Lakota Music Project
Cherokee baseball player Koda Glover sits out rest of season with shoulder injury
Controversy lingers over 'Scaffold' sculpture depicting hangings of Dakota men
Yerington Paiute Tribe plans medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation site
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe acquires culturally significant property for $1.1 million
Seminole Tribe reports little damage to casinos after Hurricane Irma hits Florida
>>> 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.