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Program Assessment


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Bureau of Indian Affairs - K-12 School Construction

The program is responsible for the repair and construction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools and dormitories. The Bureau operates 184 elementary and secondary education facilities serving approximately 46,000 Indian students in 23 states.


What This Rating Means


This rating describes a program that needs to set more ambitious goals, achieve better results, improve accountability or strengthen its management practices.
  • Major improvements have been made since 2004. The Secretary now has the authority to assume control of projects that were problematic due to poor administrative oversight by a tribe. The Bureau has developed a Space Criteria Handbook to clarify consistent space requirements for new construction and is implementing a standardized design format to speed up construction.
  • The program lacks the ability to quickly move funds from stalled projects to projects that could start immediately. In addition, when emergency situations arise, such as a recent fire in one of the dorms, the program lacks the ability to shift funds from a lower priority project.
  • While the program uses the best methods available for cost projections, its estimates fell short for projects funded from FY 2001 through FY 2007. Factors include delays in project start dates requiring additional manhours, escalating costs of building materials, and unexpected site problems requiring additional funding to correct.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Seeking Congressional approval to either rescind the current Replacement School Priority List or grant BIA the ability to reprioritize the list or offer alternative projects.
  • Submitting a plan for unfunded construction costs for projects authorized and funded from FY 2001 through FY 2007.
  • Developing a long-term master plan for the BIA school system in consultation with the Tribes. Factors such as cost effectiveness of small schools and proximity to public schools should be considered.

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