Kline chides feds on state of Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school

A school office uses a blanket to cover a window.
U.S. Representative John Kline stood in an office at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school in Bena, Minn., April 8, 2015.
John Enger | MPR News

Minnesota U.S. House Rep. John Kline Wednesday criticized the federal government for conditions at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Kline, a Republican who chairs the House Education Committee, told a Capitol Hill hearing that he was appalled by what he saw at a recent trip to the school.

"We should never visit a high school built in a pole barn that was designed for work on cars and trucks," he said. "You've got kids in there in the winter in the cold wearing their coats and mittens."

Kline and witnesses at the hearing condemned the Bureau of Indian Education's slow efforts to replace the school's building. Witnesses also said students at the agency's schools are far more likely to drop out than Native American students at other schools.

Kline and other politicians visited the school in early April. The visit coincided with an effort to pass a $60 million increase in funding for tribal schools.

As chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Kline recommended the extra money. But despite official visits from Kline and other politicians, a funding increase hasn't materialized.

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