FY 2015 Omnibus Budget Bill – Exciting News for Tribal Education Agencies and Departments 

On Tuesday evening, House and Senate appropriators released the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill (HR 83), which will fund TEAs through Department  of Interior for the first time.

Here is the BIA section of the Interior explanatory statement. On page 24, it provides that:

Education.- The agreement includes $2,000,000 for the development and operation of tribal departments or divisions of education as authorized in 25 U.S.C. 2020.

This funding through the Department of Interior has been authorized since 1988 (see NARF Orange Book at 5), but Congress has never appropriated the money. TEDNA and its partner organizations, NIEA and NCAI, have long advocated for fulfillment of this promise. The bill, which is expected to be passed by both the House and Senate later this week, will mean new capacity-building grant opportunities for TEAs, which will expand tribal involvement in Indian education.  The STEP Program, which TEDNA long advocated for and was also a first of its kind, is a similar appropriation through the Department of Education.

You can see Quinton Roman Nose’s Testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies for FY 2015 here, and for FY 2014 here.  You can also see other budget requests in our Congressional Materials section.  We will provide more information as it becomes available.

REMINDER for TOMORROW: Oversight Hearing on “Protecting our Children’s Mental Health: Preventing and Addressing Childhood Trauma in Indian Country”

Date: 11/19/2014 02:30 PM
Location: 628 Senate Dirksen Bldg
Type: Oversight Hearing

Witnesses:

THE HONORABLE ROBERT L. LISTENBEE JR.
DR. YVETTE ROUBIDEAUX,
Acting Director-Indian Health Service
MS. KANA ENOMOTO,
Principal Deputy Administrator-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Panel 1

MR. RICK VAN DEN POL
Director and Principal Investigator-Institute of Educational Research and Service, The University of Montana National Native Children’s Trauma Center

MS. VERNÉ BOERNER
President/CEO-Alaska Native Health Board

To visit the website for more information, click here.

ED Week: Congress Approves Budget Deal That Puts Brakes on Sequestration

Here. An excerpt:

School districts chafing under the across-the-board federal cuts known as sequestrationare about to get  a reprieve: The U.S. Senate gave final approval, on a vote of 64 to 36 Wednesday to a broad budget deal that would ward off the vast majority of the impending cuts to K-12 education spending—and nearly every other federal program—for the next two years.

. . . .

School districts say the fiscal breathing room can’t come soon enough. “At least we’re hopeful now, and we haven’t been hopeful for a while,” said David Pennington, the superintendent of the 5,400-student Ponca City school district in Oklahoma. He said the district—which has a high population of Native American students from a nearby reservation and receives federal Impact Aid to make up for lost tax dollars—was largely able to avoid layoffs last year. But, he said, “we weren’t going to be able to do that going forward.”

Education Cuts Hang in Balance as Budget Haggling Begins

Here is the discussion from ED Week.  An excerpt:

Education advocates are keeping close tabs on a congressional conference committee charged with coming up with a budget solution in hopes that lawmakers may stop a series of blunt, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. The cuts, which have already eliminated thousands of Head Start slots and caused some schools near Native American reservations and military bases to lay off staff, are slated to stay in place for a decade unless Congress acts to halt or change them.

It’s unclear if this new panel, formed last month through legislation that reopened the federal government after a 16-day shutdown and suspended the debt ceiling after the nation nearly defaulted, will be able to make headway. Congress has tried—and failed—to get rid of sequestration since the cuts were put in place in August of 2011, as part of yet another debt-ceiling deal.