Native American Television



President’s FY 2020 Budget Proposes $936.3 Million for Bureau of Indian Education, Elevates Its Budget to Bureau-level Status Separate from Bureau of Indian Affairs    

March 11, 2019

BIE budget priorities include fostering student success, BIE reform,

and Every Student Succeeds Act compliance.    


WASHINGTON – Today President Donald Trump proposed a $936.3 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).


The BIE’s primary mission is to provide quality education opportunities from early childhood through life in accordance with a tribe’s need for cultural and economic well-being, in keeping with the wide diversity of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes as distinct cultural and governmental entities.


For the first time in its history, the BIE’s budget request is being presented in a separate budget justification.  All BIE budget activities are shifted out of Indian Affairs’ Operation of Indian Programs account into a new Operation of Indian Education Programs account.  In addition, the Education Construction budget activity is shifted to a new Education Construction account. 


“The President’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the Bureau of Indian Education supports his goals for tribal self-determination by improving education services to Indian Country,” said Acting Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt.  “This budget recognizes the BIE being as important to tribes in the education of their children as the BIA is to supporting them in the management of their trust lands and resources.”


“I appreciate the President’s recognition through his FY 2020 proposal of the need to elevate the BIE budget to bureau-level status within the overall Indian Affairs budget, given its broad range of responsibilities for educating our students,” said Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara “Katuk” Sweeney.  “Our children are sacred and we’re fighting for their futures.  That is why having the BIE budget as a separate account will allow for greater transparency and accountability for our education responsibilities.”


The 2020 budget acknowledges the distinct and separate responsibilities and missions of Indian Affairs’ two bureaus –  BIE and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) – by elevating the BIE budget request to the bureau level and presenting it separately from the BIA’s.  This proposal will advance BIE reform, provide autonomy and accountability, streamline services, maximize efficiency, and build capacity.


The request also supports the Administration’s commitment to helping promote tribal nation-building and self-determination, empower tribal communities, foster tribal self-sufficiency, create educational and economic opportunities, ensure safe Indian communities, and preserve and foster cultural heritage.  The goals and vision reflected in the FY 2020 budget are informed by tribal leaders and the Tribal-Interior Budget Council (TIBC) who helped the Department identify the priorities in this request.


Budget Overview:  The President’s FY 2020 budget for BIE is $936.3 million in current appropriations.


The Bureau manages the Federal school system comprised of 169 elementary and secondary schools and 14 dormitories, located on 64 reservations in 23 States, providing educational services to 46,692 individual students, with an Average Daily Membership of 40,641 students.  It also operates two post-secondary schools and administers grants for 29 tribally controlled colleges and universities and two tribal technical colleges.


BIE funding supports classroom instruction, student transportation, native language instruction, cultural enrichment, gifted and talented programs, and school improvement and maintenance.  In some schools, funding also supports residential costs, mostly in remotely located sites.  And, because the BIE functionally serves as a State Education Agency (SEA), it administers and oversees U.S. Department of Education programs in BIE-funded schools, and receives additional Education Department funds to educate and provide services to students attending these schools.


The FY 2020 budget request prioritizes direct school operations, school improvement, early childhood programs, and completing the Bureau’s reform efforts to improve service and technical assistance for BIE-funded schools.  Staffing is estimated at 2,448 full time equivalents in 2020.


Operation of Indian Education Programs:  The FY 2020 budget for the Operation of Indian Education Programs account is $867.4 million.  In 2020, priority is given to sub-activities providing for direct school operations and school improvement in line with the BIE’s Strategic Direction plan.


Foster Tribal Student Success – The FY 2020 budget proposes to accomplish this in two ways:  1) By serving as a capacity builder and service provider to support tribes in delivering culturally appropriate education with high academic standards to allow students across Indian Country to achieve success, and 2) By prioritizing funding for core mission programs and operations at BIE-funded elementary and secondary schools and tribally controlled colleges and universities.  The request includes:


·         $726.8 million for Elementary and Secondary programs,

·         $98.0 million for Post-secondary programs, and

·         $42.6 million for Education Management.


The FY 2020 budget request’s focus on direct school operations, which includes classroom instruction, student transportation, Native language development programs, cultural awareness and enrichment, school improvement and maintenance, and in some remotely located schools, residential costs, reflects its continuing investment in activities that promote educational self-determination for tribal communities.  The request includes $81.5 million for Tribal Grant Support Costs for tribes that choose to operate BIE-funded schools themselves – a funding level that supports 100 percent of the estimated requirement.


BIE Reform Efforts – The FY 2020 budget proposes $32.3 million in education program management funds to improve service to BIE-funded schools and build in-house capacity and accountability.


Tribal Priority Allocations – The FY 2020 budget proposes Tribal Priority Allocation funding of $16.1 million.


Compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act – Funding from the Department of Education would provide for continued implementation of the Act and help BIE establish high quality standards, accountability and capacity to invest in meaningful assessments.


Construction:  The FY 2020 budget proposes to shift the Education Construction budget activity to a new Education Construction account and requests $68.9 million in annual funding for this activity.


Funding will continue to focus on facility improvement and repairs at existing BIE-funded schools.  In addition, available funding from prior years will enable work to continue on completing construction on schools listed on the Bureau’s Replacement School Construction Priority List published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2004, and to begin design and construction phases for schools listed on a subsequent list published on April 29, 2016.


The Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues, communicates policy to and oversee the programs of the BIA and the BIE, provides leadership in consultations with tribes, and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter- departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on Indian matters.


The Bureau of Indian Affairs mission includes developing and protecting Indian trust lands and natural and energy resources; supporting social welfare, public safety and justice in tribal communities; and promoting tribal self-determination and self-governance.


The Bureau of Indian Education implements Federal Indian education programs and funds 183 elementary and secondary day and boarding schools (of which two-thirds are tribally operated) located on 64 reservations in 23 States and peripheral dormitories serving nearly 47,000 individual students. The BIE also operates two post-secondary schools and administers grants for 29 tribally controlled colleges and universities and two tribal technical colleges.