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capped, needing residential services or transportation, those are all additional funds based on the type of student.
That same type of thing should hold true within the Department of Education so that when programs become available through authorization and appropriation from Congress, they can flow to community tribal schools. We think there are two possible ways of doing that. One is to transfer the funds directly to the Bureau and distribute them on the same basis that local education agencies get them, or the other way is to look at all Department of Education programs and ensure that community tribal schools are identified as local education agencies.
About 3 weeks ago, we testified before this committee in regard to the Vocational Education Bill, S. 496, and we specifically said that because the Bureau has been unwilling to match 2 percent that was supposed to go over to the Bureau, our schools and secondary programs of vocational education just do not receive the funds. When the set-aside becomes competitive, most of the dollars go to the tribes and most of them are for adult programs.
We are losing out in a lot of different areas. The main reason is because we happen to receive our basic support from another Federal agency. When that happens, we lose a lot of different programs. We are saying you need to either transfer it all over and make sure the money gets to the school, or in legislation, look at all the education programs and designate community tribal schools as local education agencies.
I have written testimony to be submitted for the record. We talked a little about chapter 1 and chapter 2 and some other things in the written testimony, but our main concern is that our students in our schools are not receiving full advantage of all the programs under the Department of Education.
[Prepared statement of Mr. Bordeaux appears in appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Can you provide us with some comparative numbers? For example, how to the Indian students in your system in South Dakota compare financially with non-Indian students in the school systems of South Dakota? On a per capita basis, what are they receiving?
Mr. BORDEAUX. If you take everything in total, it ranges anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 per student. But like I said before, our base instruction dollars was $2,407.50 per student last year. Depending on whether they were in high school or grade school, if they need special education, if they need transportation services or residential services, then that cost goes up based on the type of student you have and the type of services needed.
If you go for basic instruction, it is a little over $2,400 and it could go all the way to $6,000 or even $8,000 if you happen to have a handicapped child who needs full services. You hear the average per pupil in an Indian school might be $5,000 or $6,000, but you have to discount anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of that, primarily because of the needs of the student. They get all those extra funds based of the services required for them.
I believe that 2 years ago I testified before this committee on a budget oversight hearing and submitted some data in regard to looking at the total student cost in Indian schools and then subtracting all of those categories to give a bottom-line figure of what the school gets per student for basic instruction.
The CHAIRMAN. What was the comparison there?
Mr. BORDEAUX. South Dakota is a bad example. I am sure Senator Daschle knows that South Dakota does not support education very well. In South Dakota, they spend about $3,000 per student in public schools. The base line for basic instruction at that time for the Bureau was a little over $2,000. That is just basic instruction.
Then you have to look at each of the categories because South Dakota does not count the capital outlay funds in their special education dollars when they talk about per pupil expenditures. You have to add those back in and take some things away from the Indian schools. It takes a long process to do that.
What I attempted to do was to show that for basic instruction, we were receiving less per student, but when you add all the categories based on student need, we were getting more per student.
The CHAIRMAN. How much does a school teacher in your school system get paid as compared to the public school system?
Mr. BORDEAUX. If you want to refer to South Dakota, again, that is kind of a bad example. The range in contract tribal schools is from $13,000 to about $17,000 depending on where they are and what type of program they choose to offer. The South Dakota average is just a little over $15,000, but the national average is over $22,000. This is for beginning teachers. If you take the average, it goes up to about $26,000 or $28,000, so there is a difference there, too.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator McCain.
STATEMENT OF LORENA BAHE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ASSOCIA
TION OF NAVAJO COMMUNITY-CONTROLLED SCHOOL BOARDS,
My name is Lorena Bahe. I am the Executive Director of the Association of Navajo Community-Controlled School Boards and I am from the great State of Arizona.
The association that I work for is operated by school boards under self-determination contracts or tribally-controlled grants. We refer to the association by the acronym ANCCSB. Our mission is to assist local schools in exercising their self-determination rights in operating the education programs for the Navajo children. We also work with the tribe on important education policy issues. We provide a voice for these school boards in Congress, at BIA, and at the Department of Education on Federal policies that affect the education of Indian children.
Since the focus of this hearing is to discuss the Department of Education and the role they play in Indian education, I would like to share with the committee some major concerns we have from ANCCSB. The first was already mentioned by Jo Jo.
We are really concerned about the selection of the Director of the Office of Indian Education within the Department of Education. Under Public Law 100-297, the director has a new responsibility for developing and coordinating the policies in Indian elementary and secondary education. We are aware that NACIE has submitted a list of nominees to the Secretary to make the final selection.
ANCCSB has reviewed the credentials of one particular person, John Tippeconnic, who is from Arizona. He was one of the candidates that was on the NACIE nomination list and, Mr. Chairman, if you don't mind, on behalf of ANCCSB, we whole-heartedly support Mr. Tippeconnic for the post of directorship. His 20-plus years of experience in education make him an excellent choice for this important job. He was also previously an employee of the Department of Education.
We are really concerned about the continuity in Indian education, especially at this level within the Department of Education. We need to know the people we work with. I think Jo Jo mentioned Indian preference. We need to know, in case of problems, who we contact to rectify our problems.
For example, there have been late funding problems within the tribal schools in reference to the Title VII Bilingual Education Program. The OIE Director involved in coordinating some of these services to Indian children would minimize such problems. ANCCSB would appreciate the assistance we can get from the committee to encourage the Secretary to make the selection of the director as soon as possible.
The other concern that I would like to bring to your attention, Mr. Chairman, has already been mentioned. It is a major concern and I think that ANCCSB has taken the lead in this. That is the eligibility for Even Start Grant Programs. Some of the contract and grant schools had applied to get Even Start funding and they have been disappointed because they were not eligible for the grants under the new Even Start Program.
Even Start was created under Public Law 100-297. It is designed for preschool children where parents have limited educational achievement and limited English proficiency. Congress has finally realized that parents are the first teachers of children. This familyoriented education program is to equip the parents to contribute to the early learning of the kids.
In essence, the program gives younger kids from these target families an even start with all the other children from educationally advanced families. This program is of great value to Indian reservation communities because we do have a high percentage of Indian parents who have not finished high school. In many parts of Indian country where native languages are spoken in the home, parents are often not proficient in English.
I know this is the case in many of the households on the Navajo Reservation where I grew up. My family spoke Navajo. My brothers, sisters, and I learned English at school. So I think this program is very beneficial to Indian parents. Why then are we not eligible as tribal schools and contract schools and BIA schools for this type of grant?
In other statutes, Congress has put in set-aside portions of the grant funding for Indian schools. We suggested that they draft an amendment to Even Start, which was already mentioned by Jo Jo, where all Indian tribes and Indian schools operated by the tribes or tribal organizations be eligible for Even Start Programs. We seek the committee's support and advocacy on this amendment.
If you have any questions, I have my counsel here. We have done some extensive work in drafting the amendment. What the amendment will do is allow the tribes and tribal organizations to compete equally with the public schools for Department of Education grants.
In the years when Even Start appropriations are less than $50 million, the tribal and BIA schools will compete. When the funding is over $50 million, then the current law requires that there be a block grant made directly to the States who will then make grants to the individual school applicants.
The Indian amendment we are recommending would create an equivalent to the block grant for Indian applicants. The Department of Education would administer the funds that are set aside for this purpose.
We would like to see the Even Start amendment enacted as soon as possible so that the Indian children across the nation have a chance to benefit from this program in 1990. We suggest that perhaps the amendment could be added to the Vocational Education Bill that you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, which is being considered by the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. We would appreciate any assistance that this committee can provide in regard to incorporating this amendment into that bill.
The other thing is that Even Start is only one example of the Federal education grant programs that are closed to Indian schools and Indian tribes. The Department of Education interprets the statutes as excluding Indian schools and Indian tribes from eligibility. It is for this reason that we asked the Department, several weeks back, to survey each of its elementary and secondary grant programs and indicate whether or not the Department deems Indian schools or tribes eligible or ineligible applicants. We have not heard anything from the Department regarding this survey. If a statutory amendment is necessary, we hope that we can count on this committee to support that.
Mr. Chairman, the Indian Education Committee also thanks this committee for designing the Public Law 100-297 statutory framework for the White House Conference on Indian Education. We look forward to helping in the planning and participation of this important event. Public Law 100-297 authorizes funding for the conference in fiscal year 1990.
There is a problem which we need the committee's help with. That is that Congress, with the help of Senator DeConcini, has agreed to appropriate $500,000 in fiscal year 1990 to begin the conference planning. However, this is still not enough; it is not sufficient. We ask that the committee take steps to amend the law to authorize appropriations of funds in fiscal year 1991, which was not included. According to the law, 1991 is the year that requires the President to call this conference to order.
Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure to appear before you today, to come in from the local level. I work with school boards and schools on the Navajo Reservation. I enjoy my job and I feel obligated to educate my own people in discussing and reviewing some of the legislation that comes from the national level. I do a super job of translating all of that into my own Navajo language and also come up here to represent them on their behalf.
I will be happy to answer any questions. Thank you.
On the matter of Even Start-in rejecting your application, did the Department make any attempt to assist you so that you could qualify?
Ms. BAHE. No; we had requested that they give us a survey of the programs that we would be eligible or ineligible for grants on. Maybe Carol could respond to that since she has given us some assistance with that.
Ms. BARBERO. Senator, when the Department returned the applications filed by tribal schools or by tribes, they just indicated that in the Department's view, they did not qualify as a local education agency and were therefore ineligible. It was only after we made overtures to the Department to ask them to change this interpretation or in some fashion recognize that tribal schools should indeed be eligible and sat down to a meeting with their General Counsel staff that they then agreed that they could perhaps draft an amendment to the statute, which in their view would overcome the eligibility problem that they have with the current law.
The CHAIRMAN. As a naive Member of Congress, I would assume that if we establish an Office of Indian Education, then that office would have as its one goal the improvement of education among Indian people, to improve its efficiency, and to make certain that Indians can enjoy a high quality of life. As such, this office should serve as an advocate.
Do you believe that the Office of Indian Education has been serving as an advocate for Indian education?
Ms. BARBERO. Senator, I have no information with which to answer that question. Frankly, I do not even know if the advice, counsel, or input was even sought from the director or anyone else in the Office of Indian Education when this Even Start question was addressed.
It seems to me that, under the statute, that would have been an appropriate and fully sought after view since the statute gives the director of that office the responsibility to coordinate departmental policies and practices regarding elementary and secondary education. It seems to me that would have been a perfect role or perfect place for the director to be brought in.
The CHAIRMAN. Ms. Bahe, do you believe that the office has served as an obstacle or an assistance?
Ms. BAHE. We do get some assistance from the Department of Education, but in this category with the issue of Even Start eligibility, we have not received any type of assistance. I think we do have the right to be provided with technical assistance if we are ineligible.