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
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...
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:
Quinault Nation prepares for journey to Standing Rock encampment (12/2)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois prophecies warn of grave dangers (12/2)
Brandon Ecoffey: Media gets it wrong on Dakota Access frontlines (12/2)
Bronson Koenig: What I found during my journey to Standing Rock (12/2)
Timothy Egan: Fake cowboys cheered while the real Indians suffer (12/2)
Lakota Country Times: Laced marijuana finds its way to Pine Ridge (12/2)
Native Sun News Today: Owner of Wounded Knee site lowers price (12/2)
David Ganje: An opportunity for tribes to clean up their homelands (12/2)
Mary Annette Pember: Tribal member arrested for string of arsons (12/2)
Tiffany Midge: The women are here and we have a message for you (12/2)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe calls for safety as veterans head to camp (12/1)
North Dakota sheriff scrubs Facebook of incriminating information (12/1)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp considers role in Donald Trump administration (12/1)
Daniel Brown: Ho-Chunk Nation celebrates a new day in Wisconsin (12/1)
Lakota Country Times: #NoDAPL kitchen in need of more supplies (12/1)
Native Sun News Today: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe summons allies (12/1)
Vi Waln: Sacred fire burns at Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota (12/1)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Veterans at Standing Rock for the good fight (12/1)
Native Sun News Today: Duane Big Crow relishes role in coaching (12/1)
Clara Caufield: Community at Northern Cheyenne stays connected (12/1)
Steven Newcomb: A message to the Donald Trump administration (12/1)
Alaska Native designer brings subsistence fashion to new audience (12/1)
Tohono O'odham Nation and state remain at odds in casino dispute (12/1)
United Keetoowah Band won't talk about plans for potential casino (12/1)
Wilton Rancheria continues to face mysterious opposition to casino (12/1)
Non-Indian firm set to open $1.3B casino outside of nation's capital (12/1)
Native youth remain hopeful as nation transitions to new president (11/30)
Sioux Nation to President Obama: Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (11/30)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care at risk with Trump administration (11/30)
Lakota Country Times: Herbalist brings medicine to Standing Rock (11/30)
Dana Lone Hill: A big 'wopila' to all the #NoDAPL water protectors (11/30)
Kelly Hayes: My whole heart is with the #NoDAPL water protectors (11/30)
Large veterans group heads to #NoDAPL frontline in North Dakota (11/30)
Native Sun News Today: Northern Cheyenne college hosts summit (11/30)
James Giago Davies: Mixed-race Indians forced to choose identity (11/30)
Cronkite News: Navajo chef takes helm at NMAI in nation's capitol (11/30)
Billy Stratton: The soldiers who refused the Sand Creek Massacre (11/30)
Gabriel Ray: Scotts Valley Band working to re-establish homeland (11/30)
Steve Russell: Resisting apartheid and genocide in the Trump era (11/30)
Charges filed after two children found malnourished at Pine Ridge (11/30)
Four Alaska Natives dead amid state outbreak of strep bacteria (11/30)
Pokagon Band breaks ground on housing project on Indiana land (11/30)
Ancestral remains found in Washington are about 2300 years old (11/30)
Former casino worker took $23K from Northern Cheyenne Tribe (11/30)
Sheriff hit with lawsuit as governor moves in on #NoDAPL camp (11/29)
Dakota Access Pipeline almost finished except at Lake Oahe site (11/29)
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.