The purpose of the accreditation required under this section shall be to ensure that Indian students being served by a school funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs are provided with educational opportunities that equal or exceed those for all other students in the United States.
Local school boards for schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in cooperation and consultation with the appropriate tribal governing bodies and their communities, are encouraged to adopt declarations of purpose for education for their communities, taking into account the implications of such declarations on education in their communities and for their schools. In adopting such declarations of purpose, the school boards shall consider the effect the declarations may have on the motivation of students and faculties.
The accreditation type applied for each school shall be determined by the tribal governing body, or the school board, if authorized by the tribal governing body.
The Secretary, through contracts and grants, shall provide technical and financial assistance to Bureau-funded schools, to the extent that necessary amounts are made available, to enable such schools to obtain the accreditation required under this subsection, if the school boards request that such assistance, in part or in whole, be provided.
The Secretary may provide such assistance directly or through the Department of Education, an institution of higher education, a private not-for-profit organization or for-profit organization, an educational service agency, or another entity with demonstrated experience in assisting schools in obtaining accreditation.
A Bureau-funded school that is seeking accreditation shall remain subject to the standards issued under this section 1
If the school board of a school that the Secretary has proposed for inclusion in an annual report under paragraph (5) believes that such inclusion is in error, the school board may provide to the Secretary such information as the board believes is in conflict with the information and conclusions of the Secretary with respect to the determination to include the school in such annual report. The Secretary shall consider such information provided by the school board before making a final determination concerning the inclusion of the school in any such report.
Not later than 30 days after making an initial determination to include a school in an annual report under paragraph (5), the Secretary shall make public the final determination on the accreditation status of the school.
A school shall implement the school plan under subparagraph (A) expeditiously, but in no event later than the beginning of the school year following the school year in which the school was included in the annual report under paragraph (5) so long as the necessary resources have been provided to the school.
With respect to a contract or grant school that fails to be accredited at the end of the third full year immediately following the date that the school’s plan was first in effect under paragraph (7), the Secretary may take one or more of the corrective actions described in subparagraph (D)(i) and (D)(ii). The Secretary shall implement such corrective action for at least 1 year prior to taking any action described under clause (ii).
The tribal governing body shall have 60 days to amend the plan developed pursuant to clause (ii), including identifying another outside entity to operate the school. The Secretary shall reach agreement with the tribal governing body on the proposal and any such amendments to the plan not later than 30 days after the expiration of the 60-day period described in the preceding sentence. After the approval of the proposal and any amendments, the Secretary, with continuing consultation with such tribal governing body, shall implement the proposal.
Upon accreditation of the school, the tribe shall have the option to assume the operation and administration of the school as a contract school after complying with the Indian Self-Determination Act [25 U.S.C. 5321 et seq.], or as a grant school, after complying with the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988 [25 U.S.C. 2501 et seq.], at the beginning of the school year following the year in which the school obtains accreditation.
Nothing in this subparagraph shall limit a tribe’s right to retrocede operation of a school to the Secretary pursuant to section 105(e) of the Indian Self-Determination Act [25 U.S.C. 5324(e)] (with respect to a contract school) or section 5204(f) of the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988 1 (with respect to a grant school).
The provisions of this subparagraph shall be construed to be consistent with the provisions of the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988 [25 U.S.C. 2501 et seq.] and the Indian Self-Determination Act [25 U.S.C. 5321 et seq.] as in effect on the day before January 8, 2002, and shall not be construed as expanding the authority of the Secretary under any other law.
With respect to a school that is operated pursuant to a grant, or a school that is operated under a contract under the Indian Self-Determination Act [25 U.S.C. 5321 et seq.], prior to implementing any corrective action under this paragraph, the Secretary shall provide notice and an opportunity for a hearing to the affected school pursuant to section 5207 of the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988.1
Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter or otherwise affect the rights, remedies, and procedures afforded to school employees under applicable law (including applicable regulations or court orders) or under the terms of any collective bargaining agreement, memorandum of understanding, or other agreement between such employees and their employers.
The Bureau shall, either directly or through contract with an Indian organization, establish a consistent system of reporting standards for fiscal control and fund accounting for all contract and grant schools. Such standards shall provide data comparable to those used by Bureau-operated schools.
Except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary shall implement the standards in effect under this section 1 on the day before January 8, 2002.
On an annual basis, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress, all Bureau-funded schools, and the tribal governing bodies of such schools a detailed plan to ensure that all Bureau-funded schools are accredited, or if such schools are in the process of obtaining accreditation that such schools meet the Bureau standards in effect on the day before January 8, 2002, to the extent that such standards do not conflict with the standards of the accrediting agency. Such plan shall include detailed information on the status of each school’s educational program in relation to the applicable standards, specific cost estimates for meeting such standards at each school, and specific timelines for bringing each school up to the level required by such standards.
The Secretary shall, by regulation, promulgate standards and procedures for the closure, transfer to another authority, consolidation, or substantial curtailment of Bureau schools, in accordance with the requirements of this subsection.
In a case in which closure, transfer to another authority, consolidation, or substantial curtailment of a school is under active consideration or review by any division of the Bureau or the Department of the Interior, the affected tribe, tribal governing body, and designated local school board will be notified immediately in writing, kept fully and currently informed, and afforded an opportunity to comment with respect to such consideration or review.
If a formal decision is made to close, transfer to another authority, consolidate, or substantially curtail a school, the affected tribe, tribal governing body, and designated school board shall be notified not later than 180 days before the end of the school year preceding the proposed closure date.
No irrevocable action may be taken in furtherance of any such proposed school closure, transfer to another authority, consolidation, or substantial curtailment (including any action which would prejudice the personnel or programs of such school) prior to the end of the first full academic year after such report is made.
The Secretary shall not terminate, close, consolidate, contract, transfer to another authority, or take any other action relating to an elementary school or secondary school (or any program of such a school) of an Indian tribe without the approval of the governing body of any Indian tribe that would be affected by such an action.
With respect to applications described in this subparagraph, the Secretary shall give consideration to all factors described in subparagraph (B), but no such application shall be denied based primarily upon the geographic proximity of comparable public education.
Not later than 180 days after the date on which an application described in paragraph (1)(A) is submitted to the Secretary, the Secretary shall make a determination of whether to approve the application.
If the Secretary fails to make a determination with respect to an application by the date described in subparagraph (A), the application shall be deemed to have been approved by the Secretary.
Each application described in paragraph (1)(A) shall include information concerning each of the factors described in paragraph (1)(B).
Nothing in this section or any other provision of law, shall be construed to preclude the expansion of grades and related facilities at a Bureau-funded school, if such expansion is paid for with non-Bureau funds. Subject to the availability of appropriated funds the Secretary is authorized to provide the necessary funds needed to supplement the cost of operations and maintenance of such expansion.
Administrative, transportation, and program cost funds received by Bureau-funded schools, and any program from the Department of Education or any other Federal agency for the purpose of providing education or related services, and other funds received for such education and related services from nonfederally funded programs, shall be apportioned and the funds shall be retained at the school.
Funds received by Bureau-funded schools from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and under any program from the Department of Education or any other Federal agency, for the purpose of providing education or related services may be used for schoolwide projects to improve the educational program for all Indian students.
The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study to determine the adequacy of funding, and formulas used by the Bureau to determine funding, for programs operated by Bureau-funded schools, taking into account unique circumstances applicable to Bureau-funded schools. The study shall analyze existing information gathered and contained in germane studies that have been conducted or are currently being conducted with regard to Bureau-funded schools.
Upon completion of the study, the Secretary of the Interior shall take such action as necessary to ensure distribution of the findings of the study to all affected Indian tribes, local school boards, and associations of local school boards.