Auditors: BIA schools database full of errors

Auditors: BIA schools database full of errors

The General Accounting Office urged the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs to improve the accuracy of its database system for American Indian schools. BIA uses the Facilities Management Information System to track maintenance and repair of school buildings serving more than 48,000 American Indian children.

The bureau has been converting its records to FMIS from an older system that was harder to use and lacked software tools for planning repair projects. But the bureau's contractor discovered that nearly half of the proposed FMIS entries are inaccurate or incomplete.

'Data entries from one-third of 102 schools that entered data showed a 100 percent error rate,' GAO said.

The congressional audit agency recommended that BIA establish better guidance and performance expectations for employees who enter and review FMIS data. GAO also urged the bureau to analyze the data errors in FMIS periodically to develop training courses and other methods of improving the entered data.

GAO auditors visited 14 BIA schools and found that the database problems had not caused safety hazards at the schools.

BIA's education program retains its Internet connections, unlike other parts of the bureau, because its networks do not link to American Indian trust data and so are exempt from court orders requiring a cutoff (see story at www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/security/22935-1.html).

The bureau agreed with the recommendations and said it will set up a working group to solve the problem.

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