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Tribes struggle to find funds to fix crumbling schools

Tribes and their advocates say the federal government isn't doing enough to fix crumbling Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.

The BIA funds school construction projects on a priority basis. That means tribes must wait years before money is provided to replace buildings that, in many cases, are decades old.

Maintenance is also an issue, said Jackie Johnson, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. "Children can't get good educations and a fair start for the future if they're continually being put in these areas where they have to worry about their safety on a day-to-day basis or shift them from room to room depending on leakage or something else," she told the Associated Press.

The Bush administration says it has increased funding for school replacement since 2001. The BIA has funded 34 projects but only nine have been completed, leading the White House to scale back money for fiscal year 2006.

Get the Story:
Tribes complain of crumbling schools (AP 6/9)

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