WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) sent a letter urging Reps. Ken Calvert and Betty McCollum, leaders on the House Committee on Appropriations, to strongly consider full funding for the Bureau of Indian Education’s New School Replacement Program.
“We have an obligation to provide a quality education and a safe school environment for students across Indian Country. With a backlog of nearly 80 tribal schools in dire need of repair or replacement, it is long past time for Congress to take action,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “I am ready to work with my colleagues to ensure the Bureau of Indian Education’s New School Replacement Program is funded and the backlog is reduced over the coming years.”
“I believe that for the United States to fulfill our responsibility to Native American tribes and nations, we must ensure that children living in these communities have access to healthy, safe, and comfortable schools,” O’Halleran wrote to his Republican and Democratic colleagues. “I believe that a student’s zip code should not play a role in their educational opportunities, which is exactly why we must ensure that the Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools in poor condition are replaced in a timely manner.”
In 2016, following the construction of 10 schools chosen for replacement in 2004, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) selected 10 more eligible facilities for repair or replacement. Schools determined to be in poor condition are 50 years old or older and 75 percent or more of students are being taught out of portable facilities.
Read the full letter here .