Last week, Chairman John Kline joined Speaker Boehner and seven other Republicans for a visit to Israel where they able to see first hand the Gaza tunnels …
“We go down into one of the tunnels, and let me tell you, you can barely fit shoulder-to-shoulder. They tell us that Hamas is digging as we speak, about 10 meters a day over three shifts.”
Speaker Boehner issued a statement on the delegation’s visit, saying in part :
“We came here to express Congress’s unwavering commitment to our friendship with Israel. At the Hamas tunnels in Gaza, we saw the security challenges the Israeli people face every day, and the importance of backing missile defense. We leave with a renewed commitment to make the strong bonds between our countries even stronger.”
Congress is presently setting the FY2016 budget and considering a Republican request to send US tax dollars to Israel … $41.4 million in funding for the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system, $286.9 million for the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS), and $146.9 million for the Arrow Weapon System (AWS).
$475.2 million — and that’s on top of the $3 Billion that is still being delivered based on George Bush’s pledge that will continue to 2018.
That was last week, but today Chairman Kline joined Rick Nolan (MN-08) and Todd Rokita (IN-04) to visit a Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) school in Minnesota … and tweeted his reaction
Very informative visit to Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School in northern Minnesota. We can't turn a blind eye to this crisis. pic.twitter.com/gBZBotnhzj
— John Kline (@repjohnkline) April 8, 2015
As the Strib reported :
For all the school spirit, however, the building’s limitations stuck out most for the visitors.
The small science lab is not safe enough to conduct chemistry experiments.
“It’s a science lab you can’t use,” Kline said, incredulous. Later he said the visitors would hesitate to send their own children there
A little history
The Bug O Nay Ge Shig School is located in Bena, Minnesota, operated by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Band) and governed by its School Board. It is named in honor of Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig, an Ojibwe man who lived in the area at the turn of the century. He is revered for his commitment to fight for our land, our people, and for our children.
The school was established in 1975 and some of the kids ride school buses for 2 hours each way every day to attend school which serves Indian children in grades K-12.
The High School is in dire need of replacement as it was not originally built for use as an academic space. It is a metal-clad pole barn originally built to house an auto mechanic school and bus garage. When the building was transformed into the High School, the intention was that it would only be a temporary space.
However, generations of students have attended school in this makeshift building. The facility has serious structural and mechanical deficiencies and lacks proper insulation.
Responders have dubbed the high school building as “Killer Hall” because an emergency would likely have tragic results. The facility does not meet basic safety, fire, and security standards due to the flimsiness of the construction materials, electrical problems, and lack of alarm systems. In addition, in high wind situations over 40 M.P.H., the students must evacuate outside into the winds because of the structural flaws with the flat metal building.
In the President’s FY16 budget request, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) requested
“$58.7 million increase is requested for Education Construction to support the education transformation.
This includes a $25.3 million increase for replacement school construction to complete construction of the final two schools on the 2004 replacement school construction priority list: Little Singer Community School and Cove Day School, both in Arizona. A $17.7 million increase for facilities improvement and repair is requested for repairs to building structures and components that are necessary to sustain and prolong the useful life of education buildings. Additionally, $11.9 million is requested to address major facility repair needs at schools like the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school on the Leech Lake Band of the Ojibwe reservation”.
This is not a new request … the Band has regularly gone to Washington to plea their case for funding … but this year, Chairman Kline has agreed with President Obama’s budget request.
$58.7 million is a lot of money … except it barely makes a dent in the scope of the work that is necessary.
According to Education Week, BIE lost $48 million to so-called sequestration cuts out of a budget of some $380 million in 2013-14. School improvement funding was cut to zero in 2013 and 2014.
Let’s THANK Chairman Kline for finally visiting one of these schools … but there are more than 60 others that need a visit … that teach children from the earliest age through high school … such as
Rock Point Community Elem School AZ K-12
Trenton School ND K-12
Mandaree Day School ND K-12
Alamo Navajo School NM K-12
Little Wound/Kyle SD K-12
Sicangu Owayawa Oti (Rosebud Dormitory) SD 1-12
Quileute Tribal School WA K-12
Speaker Boehner spent last August on a 35-day cross country campaign to raise money for Republicans in 20 battleground districts in over 14 States … this summer instead of taking a CODEL paid by the American Israel Education Foundation, a non-profit branch of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to Israel, Chairman Kline should visit other schools that are known to be on the Priority List and hold hearings so that Members and citizens can plea their case.
I suspect that Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Kevin Cramer (ND-AtLarge), Steve Pearce (NM-02), Kristie Noem (SD-AtLarge) and Derek Kilmer (WA-06) should be glad to give tours of their own “Killer Hall” facilities.
“Killer Hall” should be a lesson … there are more that need the Chairman’s support.