Education | Politics

BIA losing school construction money despite a $1.3B backlog

A year ago, Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk told Congress that the was "no way" to clear the $1.3 billion backlog in Indian school construction at the current rate of funding.

On Tuesday, Echo Hawk told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that there is no money in the Obama administration's fiscal year 2012 budget request to build new schools. Instead, funds will be used to maintain existing facilities.

"Our judgment in these tight budget times is to spread that out and try to impact as many students as we can through improvement of schools that are existing," Echo Hawk said at the hearing, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

The BIA hasn't updated its school construction priority list since 2004.

Get the Story:
Budget boosts aid for Native Americans (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 3/16)

Committee Hearing:
OVERSIGHT HEARING on the President's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for Tribal Programs (March 15, 2011)

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Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on budget (3/15)
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Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets budget hearing next week (3/7)
Obama administration cuts BIA budget request by 4.5 percent (2/14)
White House OMB posts documents for fiscal year 2012 budget (2/14)

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