Navajo Council Delegate Walter Phelps pushes for school replacement funds

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office
(202) 200-0625
jking@nnwo.org

For Immediate Release

Navajo Council Delegate Walter Phelps pushes for  school replacement funds

WASHINGTON—On Sept. 23 and 24, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Walter Phelps (Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Birdsprings, Leupp, Tolani Lake) and representatives from the Little Singer Community School met with congressional and administration officials this week to push for school replacement construction funds and a new replacement school construction priority list.

"I am proud of the administrators and board members of the Little Singer Community School for their commitment to advocating for the needs of the school. Because of our visits with representatives and agencies in DC, decision makers are now fully aware of our school facility replacement funding needs for both Little Singer and Cove," said Delegate Phelps.

Many school facilities in Indian country are in a poor state. In 2004 the BIA created a Replacement School Construction Priority List that included 14 schools.

The list was created to determine the order in which the Bureau would request appropriations to fund education replacement construction of core academic and/or dormitory facilities. The schools on that list were considered the most in need of replacement of core facilities.

Three schools remain on the list, including two on the Navajo Nation – Little Singer Community School in Winslow, Ariz., and Cove Day School in Red Valley, Ariz.

Among other issues, the Little Singer Community School has problems with asbestos and radon.

The House-passed appropriations bill that includes funding for the U.S. Department of the Interior included funding for the last three schools on the list and instructions to create a new replacement school construction priority list; but the draft Senate version of the same bill would not include these.

Delegate Phelps and the group from Little Singer met with staff from the Arizona Congressional Delegation, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and also from the Office of Management and Budget and the Bureau of Indian Education.

The staff everywhere understood the need, and the group left these meetings feeling positive that funds for school replacement will be included in future appropriations bills or in the president’s budget.

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