Education | National

BIE schools compete for five spots on new priority construction list

The Quileute Tribal School in La Push, Washington. Photo from Quileute Tribal School

Ten Bureau of Indian Education schools are competing for five spots on a new school construction priority list at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Seven of the finalists are on the Navajo Nation. According to the BIE, the reservation is home to the the largest number of worst condition schools.

One of the remaining finalists is the Quileute Tribal School in Washington. The Quileute Tribe needs to relocate the facility to higher ground due to storm and tsunami dangers, The Peninsula Daily News reported.

All 10 finalists are making their case at a public meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, next week. The five that are selected will share in $8 million in planning and design funds. The money comes from the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill that became law last month.

The five must also be able to start work in fiscal year 2017. The BIE said it will request the needed funds from Congress so the amounts have yet to be determined.

The omnibus provides $45 million for two replacement projects on the Navajo Nation. The Little Singer Community School in Red Valley, Arizona, and the Cove Day School near Winslow, Arizona, are the last two facilities on the BIA's 2004 school construction priority list. The new list will be the first update since 2004.

According to the Bronner report from 2012, the BIE needs at least $3 billion to replace old schools and make overdue repairs at other facilities. An earlier report from the No Child Left Behind School Facilities and Construction Negotiated Rulemaking Committee said $1.3 billion was needed just for replacement.

At the current rate of funding, it will take more than 23 years to bring all of the schools in “poor” condition into fair or good condition, according to the BIE.

Get the Story:
Quileute Tribal School competing for federal funds to move school to higher ground (The Peninsula Daily News 1/23)
Navajo welcome $45M from feds for schools, but say need persists (Cronkite News 1/24)

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