Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (07/29/1985)

(Measure passed House, amended)

Indian Education Technical Amendments Act of 1985 - Amends title XI (Indian Education) of the Education Amendments of 1978 (the Act) to revise provisions relating to Indian education.

Directs the Secretary of the Interior (the Secretary) to establish alternative or revised academic standards for the basic education of Indian children in Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools when such alternative or revised standards are submitted by the tribal governing body or the designated school board, unless the Secretary: (1) specifically rejects such standards for good cause; and (2) notifies in writing each affected tribe and local school board of such rejection. Makes such rejection final and not reviewable.

Requires the tribal governing body or the designated school board to submit its proposal for such alternative standards within 60 days after its waiver of the BIA standards.

Revises the deadline for contract school compliance with such minimum academic standards or alternative or modified standards. Prohibits the Secretary from rescinding or failing to renew a contract because of noncompliance with such standards until at least one year after notifying the school of a failure to comply. Requires the Secretary, during such one-year period, to give technical assistance to help the school to comply.

Directs the BIA to establish a consistent system of fiscal control and fund accounting for all contract schools, either directly or through contract with an Indian organization, within one year after the enactment of this Act.

Deletes certain references to personnel actions based on failure to implement or meet such standards.

Prohibits the closing, consolidation, or substantial curtailment of any program or school or peripheral dormitory operated by the BIA, except on a temporary basis where plant conditions constitute an immediate hazard to health or safety.

Deletes references to parents under requirements for notification and consultation during consideration or review of such closures, consolidations, or curtailment.

Requires, when a formal decision is made to close, consolidate, or substantially curtail a school, that notification be given to the affected tribe, tribal governing body, and designated school board at least six months prior to the end of the school year preceding the proposed effective date.

Revises requirements for studies and reports relating to such closures, consolidations, or curtailments. Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress, the affected tribe, and the designated local school board describing the process of active consideration or review. Requires such report to include specified information on: (1) the impact of such action on the students (especially those students with educational and social needs); and (2) the consultation regarding such students conducted between the various service providers, parents, certain tribal groups, and the Director of the Office of Indian Education within the BIA.

Specifies that a prohibition against actions within a specified time period in furtherance of such proposed closures, consolidations, or curtailments refers to irreversible actions.

Revises provisions relating to BIA school boundaries. Prohibits any change (as well as any establishment) of any attendance area with respect to any BIA school unless the tribal governing body (or the designated local school board) has been given: (1) at least six months notice; and (2) the opportunity to propose alternative boundaries. Allows any tribe to petition the Secretary for revision of existing attendance area boundaries. Directs the Secretary to accept such proposed alternative or revised boundaries unless the Secretary finds, after consultation with the affected tribe or tribes, that such revised boundaries do not reflect the needs of the Indian students to be served or do not provide adequate stability to all of the affected programs.

Repeals provisions which require that the Director of the Office of Indian Education (the Director) supervise all contract functions relating to education.

Directs the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs (the Assistant Secretary) to provide for the adequate coordination between the affected BIA Offices and the Office of Indian Education to facilitate the consideration of all contract functions relating to education, but requires the Secretary to review the applications for the new school starts which were filed with the BIA before October 1, 1984, under the rules and guidelines in effect on the date the application was filed.

Requires inclusion of a five-year plan for capital improvements for Indian education in the annual Budget.

Revises provisions relating to the BIA program for the operation and maintenance of Indian education facilities. Deletes a reference to the Director as responsible for implementation of such program. Includes, under required components of such program, a system for the conduct of routine preventive maintenance. Prohibits program funds from being authorized for expenditure by specified officials unless certain conditions relating to necessary maintenance are met. Repeals a requirement that the Director supervise all BIA education facilities. Extends the deadline for implementation of such program until 270 days following the enactment of this Act.

Deletes a reference to costs associated with operating education and recreational programs on a 12-month basis among those special factors to be considered in the establishment of an allotment formula for a minimum annual amount of funds for each BIA or contract school.

Deletes reference to a separate fund, apart from such allotments, for payment of monetary awards and quality step increases to such school employees. Requires that any supplemental appropriations enacted to meet increased pay costs attributable to school-level personnel be distributed under specified allotment provisions.

Revises provisions for uniform direct funding and support of all BIA and contract schools. Sets forth provisions relating to the availability of appropriations for such purpose. Directs the Secretary to publish specified notices of allotments to the affected schools. Directs the Assistant Secretary to establish guidelines for school supervisors' authority to expend (with school board approval) no more than $25,000 annually for supplies and equipment, without competitive bidding.

Authorizes the Secretary to approve applications for funding tribal divisions of education and the development of tribal codes of education from funds appropriated pursuant to self-determination grant provisions of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. (Current law requires the Secretary to institute a program for such funding.)

Removes references to audits of the BIA and the Office of Indian Education from requirements for audits of BIA schools.

Repeals the authority of an officer or employee of the BIA or the Office of Indian Education to accept voluntary services on behalf of BIA and contract schools. Grants the authority to accept voluntary services on behalf of BIA schools to the Secretary, still subject to the approval of the local school board. Declares that an individual providing such volunteer services is a Federal employee only for specified purposes under Federal law.

Redesignates certain provisions of the Act.

Repeals provisions which allow waivers of up to 90 percent of the rental rate for educators to aid schools for Indian children in recruiting and retaining educators.

Revises provisions relating to proration of pay for educators under BIA programs for Indian education. Specifies that laws relating to dual compensation shall not affect such proration of pay. Provides that such educators shall not lose benefits under unemployment or other Federal or federally-assisted programs as a result to their elections with regard to such proration of pay.

Revises provisions relating to extracurricular activities. Authorizes (currently requires) the Secretary to provide, for each BIA area, a stipend in lieu of overtime pay or compensatory time off. Deletes a requirement for area-level determination of the amount of such stipends.