Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools: New Facilities Management	 
Information System Promising, but Improved Data Accuracy Needed  
(31-JUL-03, GAO-03-692).					 
                                                                 
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for providing  
over 48,000 children with a safe place to learn. In response to  
concerns that data in its old information system did not	 
accurately reflect the condition of facilities, BIA acquired a	 
new system, called the Facilities Management Information System  
(FMIS). GAO was asked to determine whether FMIS addresses the old
system's weaknesses and meets BIA's management needs, whether BIA
has finished validating the accuracy of data entered into FMIS	 
from the old system, and how well the quality control measures	 
are working for ensuring the accuracy of new data being entered  
into the system from individual schools.			 
-------------------------Indexing Terms------------------------- 
REPORTNUM:   GAO-03-692 					        
    ACCNO:   A07212						        
  TITLE:     Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools: New Facilities	      
Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data	 
Accuracy Needed 						 
     DATE:   07/31/2003 
  SUBJECT:   Data collection					 
	     Educational facilities				 
	     Educational facility construction			 
	     Facility maintenance				 
	     Facility repairs					 
	     Native American education				 
	     Information systems				 
	     Data integrity					 
	     Information resources management			 
	     BIA Facilities Management Information		 
	     System						 
                                                                 

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GAO-03-692

Report to Congressional Committees

United States General Accounting Office

GAO

July 2003 BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SCHOOLS

New Facilities Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data
Accuracy Needed

GAO- 03- 692

FMIS is designed to address the previous data system*s shortcomings and
appears to have the capability to meet BIA*s management needs if the data
that are entered into FMIS are correct and timely. The old system was hard
to use and did not readily provide data for maintenance and repair
efforts. FMIS*s design appears to overcome these weaknesses. For example,
FMIS has features that help facility managers make data more consistent,
as well as tools for helping managers develop cost estimates for
maintenance and construction projects.

BIA*s contractor has been correcting the data that were transferred to
FMIS from the previous system, but issues such as software compatibility
problems between the contractor*s system and FMIS have delayed entry of
some of the data for more than 1 year. BIA officials say that these
problems are being addressed. They said the delay has not affected their
ability to prioritize or fund repair and construction projects, and our
review of the data indicated that most newly identified deficiencies will
not need to be addressed for 2 to 5 years. Our review of data from 14 BIA
schools and observations during site visits disclosed no instances in
which these data problems resulted in an unsafe learning environment for
children.

Most measures for controlling the quality of new data BIA employees are
entering into the system for individual schools are not working well. BIA
has established a multilevel review process and training programs to help
ensure that such data entries are complete and accurate, but BIA*s
contractor, in reviewing data at the end of this process, continues to
find that nearly half of the proposed data entries coming through the
system are inaccurate and incomplete. Data entries from one- third of 102
schools that entered data show a 100- percent error rate. As a result, BIA
officials continue to rely on their contractor to ensure that FMIS
reflects accurate and complete data on the condition of BIA*s facilities.
BIA School in South Dakota

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for providing over
48,000 children with a safe place to learn. In response to concerns that

data in its old information system did not accurately reflect the
condition of facilities, BIA acquired a new system, called the Facilities
Management Information System (FMIS). GAO was asked to determine whether
FMIS addresses the old system*s weaknesses and

meets BIA*s management needs, whether BIA has finished validating the
accuracy of data entered into FMIS from the old system, and how

well the quality control measures are working for ensuring the accuracy of
new data being entered into the system from individual schools.

GAO recommends that BIA establish better guidance and performance
expectations for employees who are responsible for entering and reviewing
the

accuracy and completeness of FMIS data. GAO also recommends that BIA
officials periodically analyze the extent and type of data errors being
found during review in order to identify training needs and

other strategies for addressing any continuing problems. www. gao. gov/
cgi- bin/ getrpt? GAO- 03- 692. To view the full report, including the
scope

and methodology, click on the link above. For more information, contact
Marnie S. Shaul (202) 512- 6778. Highlights of GAO- 03- 692, a report to

Congressional Committees

July 2003

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SCHOOLS

New Facilities Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data
Accuracy Needed

Page i GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management Letter 1 Results in
Brief 2 Background 5 FMIS*s Design Addresses Previous Information System*s

Shortcomings and Appears to Have the Capability to Meet BIA*s Needs 8
Inventory and Backlog Data Have Been Validated, but Not

Transferred to FMIS 13 Control Measures in Place for Ensuring Data Quality
Are Largely Ineffective 22 Conclusion 26 Recommendation for Executive
Action 27 Agency Comments on Our Evaluation 27 Appendix I Objectives,
Scope, and Methodology 30

Appendix II Comments from the Department of the Interior 32

Appendix III GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments 34 GAO Contacts 34
Staff Acknowledgments 34 Tables

Table 1. Description of Backlog Categories and Ranks 10 Table 2: School
Facilities Listed in the FMIS Inventory Directly Used by Children 14 Table
3: Categories of Unfunded FMIS Backlog Entries as of October 2002 17 Table
4: Modifications to the Backlog Data from AME*s 100 Percent Validation in
1999 18 Table 5: Estimated Total Cost Changes to the FMIS Backlog for 14
Schools 20 Table 6: Extent of Disapproved Entries in FMIS among 102
Schools Submitting Data, August 2001 to December 2002. 23 Contents

Page ii GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management Figure

Figure 1: FMIS Design and Implementation Timeline 7 Abbreviations

AME Applied Management Engineering, Inc. BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs
FACCOM Facility Construction Operations and Maintenance FMIS Facilities
Management Information System O& M operations and maintenance OFMC Office
of Facilities Management and Constructions

This is a work of the U. S. Government and is not subject to copyright
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed in
its entirety without further permission from GAO. It may contain
copyrighted graphics, images or other materials. Permission from the
copyright holder may be necessary should you wish to reproduce copyrighted
materials separately from GAO*s product.

Page 1 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

July 31, 2003 Congressional Committees: The Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA), which is responsible for ensuring that over 48,000 Indian students
have school facilities that provide them with a safe and quality place to
learn, works with Indian tribes to operate and maintain nearly 2,200
buildings at 171 elementary and secondary schools. 1 During fiscal year
2002, BIA*s budget for operating, maintaining,

constructing, and repairing its school facilities was nearly $348 million.
For many years, BIA and tribal employees have been tracking the condition
of their school facilities using an automated information system. Tribal
Indian education organizations 2 and BIA have had longstanding concerns
that the information system was inadequate for managing school facilities
and did not accurately reflect how many buildings are in good condition or
disrepair. As a result, BIA did not have accurate and complete information
to determine how much annual funding is needed at each

school site for heating, lighting, and other operating expenses, as well
as how much current and future funding is needed at each site for making
repairs and capital improvements, such as patching a roof or upgrading a
fire alarm system.

Recognizing the need to address these concerns, BIA is now in its third
year of implementing a new Facilities Management Information System (FMIS)
to replace its old information system. 3 Prior to implementing FMIS,
however, and to ensure that this new system met BIA*s management needs,
BIA hired a consulting firm to identify weaknesses with the old system and
recommend improvements for designing a new one. Once the

1 During school year 2001- 2002, in addition to the 171 elementary and
secondary schools, BIA funded 14 peripheral dormitories. These dormitories
are established on reservations for Indian students who attend nearby
public schools. 2 We discussed the issues concerning the school facilities
with the Association of

Community Tribal Schools, the National Indian School Board Association,
the Native American Grant Schools Association, and the Association of
Navajo Community Controlled School Boards. 3 BIA uses the FMIS to manage
its entire Facilities Management Program. FMIS processes

information about all BIA- owned or BIA- funded facilities. However,
facilities other than educational facilities were considered to be out of
our scope and were not included in our analysis.

United States General Accounting Office Washington, DC 20548

Page 2 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

new system was designed and BIA was prepared to implement it, BIA hired an
engineering firm to validate all of the data to be transferred from the
old system into FMIS to ensure that the data were accurate and complete.
To maintain the integrity of these data over time, BIA also introduced
various quality control measures for helping ensure that facility
management staff would accurately enter new data into FMIS. Because of
concerns about the quality of the data in the former system, the Congress
directed us to conduct a review in this area. 4 After discussions with
cognizant congressional committees and several Indian education
organizations about the information that would be most helpful, we focused
our efforts on (1) whether BIA*s new facilities management information
system addresses the former system*s shortcomings and meets BIA*s needs
for managing school facilities; (2) the status of BIA*s effort to validate
the accuracy and completeness of the data being transferred from the old
system into FMIS; and (3) how well BIA*s quality control measures are
working to ensure that new data entered into FMIS are accurate and
complete.

To conduct our review of BIA*s new information system, we reviewed the
studies that evaluated BIA*s old information system and determined the
extent that BIA*s new system implements recommendations. We evaluated data
currently in the FMIS database and accompanied BIA*s contractor on
selected site visits designed to validate and update information in the
database. We also interviewed school officials at 8 BIA- funded schools in
Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota. We selected these schools to obtain
a mix based on differences in their size, geographic location, and type of
school, such as day school or boarding school. We also interviewed
officials from BIA*s Office of Facilities Management and Construction,
Division of Safety and Risk Management, and Office of Indian Education
Programs, as well as officials from various Indian education
organizations. See appendix I for a more complete description of our scope
and methodology.

We conducted our work between June 2002 and July 2003 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.

FMIS is designed to address the previous information system*s shortcomings
and appears to have the capability to meet BIA*s needs for

4 The mandate for this review is from Public Law 107- 110. Results in
Brief

Page 3 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

managing its school facilities if the data that are entered are correct
and timely. Problems with the old system included difficulty of use and
inaccurate data. FMIS is designed as an easy- to- use system that allows
facility managers at the schools to enter data without having to remember
lengthy codes or compute calculations by hand. Many facility managers at
the schools we visited said FMIS is easier to use and contains features
that address weaknesses they had identified with the previous system. FMIS
also has features that can help BIA employees make accurate and consistent
data entries, including more specific categories and priority rankings for
repairs and improvements, and a software tool that helps facility managers
develop cost estimates for repair, replacement, or construction projects.
FMIS incorporates several modules to provide BIA managers with enough
information to help them make consistent decisions for disbursing funds
across the schools and for accurately and consistently prioritizing repair
projects and capital improvements.

BIA*s engineering contractor has identified needed corrections to the
inventory and condition data that were transferred to FMIS from the old
information system, but BIA has not made all of the data corrections in
FMIS. As of October 2002, FMIS contained information on almost 2,200
buildings at 171 elementary and secondary schools and showed an estimated
cost of over $642 million for repairs, capital improvements, and
construction to improve the facilities* condition and meet changing
program needs. Regarding the inventory data used to provide schools with
annual funds for operations and maintenance (O& M), BIA*s contractor
completed its data validation effort in February 2003, and BIA expects
that the FMIS data will be updated by August 2003. BIA officials expect
that

this corrected inventory data will enhance their ability to provide
schools with the appropriate amount of funding beginning in fiscal year
2004. Regarding the data used to identify and prioritize repair projects
and capital improvements, BIA*s contractor has been completing its
cyclical review of the condition of school facilities on time. The
contractor

completed its first review of all school sites in 1999, identifying almost
75,000 adjustments that increased the list of repairs and improvements by
more than $265 million. In fiscal year 2002, the contractor visited 33
schools and identified corrections to add, delete, or adjust the FMIS
data. However, because of issues such as software compatibility problems
between the contractor*s system and FMIS, BIA had not entered the results
of these condition assessments into FMIS for over 1 year. BIA and
contractor officials said that these compatibility problems are being
addressed and that the delay did not significantly affect BIA*s ability to
appropriately prioritize or fund repair and construction projects or
negatively affect the children*s learning environment. Our review of the

Page 4 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

data for 14 of the schools showed that none of the unentered data were for
urgent or safety deficiencies that needed immediate attention; most were
maintenance deficiencies that would need attention over the next 2 to 5
years. Further, in our visits to 8 BIA schools, we did not observe that
the children were in facilities that did not provide them with a safe
place to learn.

The ability of FMIS to provide accurate and complete data depends on BIA
employees entering correct and timely information, but control measures
BIA has established for ensuring data quality have been largely
ineffective. BIA established a process whereby each data entry proposed by
school facility managers is reviewed for accuracy by BIA engineering
personnel at both an agency and a regional office, with final review and
approval by BIA*s engineering contractor and the central office before
being accepted into FMIS. Despite this process, however, BIA*s contractor
continues to

find that nearly half of data entries proposed by facility managers and
approved by agency and regional office personnel are inaccurate and
incomplete, with a third of 102 schools that entered data experiencing a
100 percent error rate. Despite these ongoing problems, BIA officials have
not established criteria and performance goals that define their

expectations for the accuracy and completeness of data entered into FMIS.
In addition, BIA officials do not analyze the number and content of data
errors that would allow them to identify the type of additional guidance
or training needed, or target locations that could benefit from more
comprehensive technical assistance. BIA officials responsible for FMIS
said that one reason they have not taken such action is because they had
no line authority over the BIA employees that enter and review the

FMIS data, and such action would have had to occur at a higher level
within BIA. BIA officials said that an ongoing reorganization of the
agency and collaboration between BIA offices offers an opportunity to
address

performance issues of BIA staff. Until BIA employee performance improves,
BIA officials responsible for FMIS continue to rely on their contractor to
ensure that FMIS reflects accurate and complete data about the condition
of BIA*s facilities.

We are making recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of the
Interior to direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and the
Office of Indian Education Programs to take steps to improve the ability
of BIA employees to maintain the integrity of FMIS data. These
recommendations include establishing criteria, guidance, and performance

measures for maintaining accurate, complete, and timely FMIS data. These
recommendations also include a requirement to periodically analyze the

Page 5 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

number and content of data errors in order to identify strategies for
correcting and preventing them.

BIA administers funding for the operation, maintenance, construction, and
repair of school facilities at 171 elementary and secondary schools in 23
states. These schools are located primarily in rural areas and small towns
and serve Indian students living on or near reservations. Many of these
schools include not only educational buildings, but also dormitories and
supporting infrastructure such as water and sewer systems. BIA operates 64
of the schools directly while the others are operated by tribes through
separate grant or contract agreements. We previously reported on issues
related to the condition of BIA school facilities in 1997 and 2001. 5
BIA*s Office of Facilities Management and Construction (OFMC) is

responsible for overseeing FMIS. At both BIA- operated and tribal-
operated schools, it is the responsibility of the facility managers to
enter data about the inventory and condition of their schools into the
system. Prior to acceptance into FMIS, these draft data entries are
reviewed and approved by facility managers at BIA agency and regional
offices respectively, before final review and approval by a BIA contractor
and BIA*s central office.

For 22 years BIA relied on its Facility Construction Operations and
Maintenance (FACCOM) system to maintain inventory data for its annual O& M
program, as well as *backlog* data that reflect repairs and

improvements needed outside of the annual maintenance program to improve
the facilities* condition now and in the future. These data assist BIA in
monitoring the status of facilities repair and new construction projects
and identifying funding needs for O& M and renovation. However, as BIA*s
needs began to change, BIA managers realized that FACCOM had limitations
and acknowledged that there were serious concerns with the accuracy and
completeness of these data.

As shown in figure 1, BIA*s efforts to replace FACCOM began in 1995 when
one of its contractors issued a report about the FACCOM system*s
shortcomings and recommended actions for improvement. In 1995, BIA entered
into a contract with Anteon Corporation, a system developer, to

5 See U. S. General Accounting Office, School Facilities: Reported
Condition and Costs to Repair Schools Funded by Bureau of Indian Affairs,
GAO/ HEHS- 98- 47 (Washington D. C.: Dec. 31, 1997) and BIA and DOD
Schools: Student Achievement and Other Characteristics Often Differ from
Public Schools*, GAO- 01- 934 (Washington D. C.: Sept. 28, 2001).
Background

Page 6 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

design the new management information system. Relying on government
standards, 6 BIA worked with Anteon Corporation to design the new system
and address FACCOM*s shortcomings. In 1999, BIA contracted with an
engineering firm, Applied Management Engineering, Inc. (AME), to conduct a
survey at all school sites in order to validate the schools* condition
data and to verify the presence of buildings and their use. According to
BIA officials, after AME validated each school*s inventory and condition
data, and BIA approved it, the data were accepted into FMIS.

6 The standards are the Federal Information Processing Standards from the
National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Page 7 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

Figure 1: FMIS Design and Implementation Timeline a PL. 107- 110 required
BIA to update the data in FMIS every 3 years.

From fiscal years 1995 through 2002, BIA spent nearly $12.5 million to
develop and begin implementing FMIS. These costs include about $8 million
for contractor expenses and over $2.6 million for BIA in- house expenses,
which covered the design of FMIS and ongoing technical support. During
fiscal years 1999- 2003, BIA spent about $13 million for the AME contract
covering the validation of inventory and condition data and other
engineering support activities. To operate FMIS, BIA expects to spend
about $1.7 million annually through fiscal year 2006 for contractor
expenses and about $250,000 for in- house expenses. In fiscal year 2007,
BIA hopes to move to an annual steady rate of about $750,000 for
contractor costs and about $250,000 for in- house costs. To continue
having AME reassess and validate the schools* inventory and condition
data, BIA

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 March

The contracting firm's report is issued that evaluated FACCOM's weaknesses
and recommended actions to verify existing data and ensure integrity of
future data.

April

BIA awarded Anteon Corporation a contract to design a new facilities
management information system.

January

BIA awarded AME a contract to verify and validate the schools' backlog
data and to validate the inventory associated with the backlog.

March

AME completed a 100 percent validation of the schools' backlog data and of
the inventory associated with the backlog.

June BIA transferred the AMEvalidated backlog data into FMIS.

August

AME began its first cycle to reassess and validate the backlog data for 20
percent of the schools each year.

November

BIA began implementing FMIS at BIA offices and schools.

June

FMIS was available at all BIA offices and schools nationwide.

November

BIA awarded AME a contract to verify and validate each of the school's
inventory data.

January

AME began its second cycle to reassess and validate the backlog data for
20 percent of the schools each year.

February

AME completed its validation and verificaton of the schools' inventory
data.

April

BIA awarded AME a contract to continue its work of verifying and
validating the schools' inventory and backlog. AME began its third cycle
to reassess and validate the backlog data for 33 percent of the schools
each year. a

August

BIA expects to transfer the AMEvalidated inventory data into FMIS. BIA
began

reviewing and evaluating its management needs to determine an appropriate
design for the information system.

Anteon Corporation began designing and developing FMIS.

Anteon Corporation continued designing and developing FMIS.

Source: BIA data.

Page 8 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

projects to spend over $8.3 million from fiscal years 2004 through 2006 on
contract expenses. Recognizing the FACCOM system*s shortcomings, BIA
worked with its system developer to design a new management information
system that would assist in resolving many of the weaknesses identified
with the old system, including those related to difficulty of use and
accuracy of data. FMIS is more user friendly and it is designed to meet
facility managers* needs at all levels within BIA by serving as both an
information management system and as a project management tool. FMIS
incorporates modules, including the inventory and backlog modules, which
help facility managers make decisions regarding the condition of the
school facilities to provide a safe environment for their students. The
inventory module contains information such as the physical characteristics
and use of buildings and is used to make funding decisions for annual
operating expenses and routine maintenance. The backlog module contains
data that tracks detailed information about the physical condition of a
school*s facility and is used to prioritize and fund repair projects,
capital improvements, and construction.

FMIS is designed to better support the day- to- day activities of the
facility management staff by being more user friendly. FMIS is a Windows-
based system that provides a point- and- click feature, which makes it
easy to navigate the system without having to remember codes. This is
important for FMIS users, because some facility managers have little prior
exposure to computers. Facility managers we interviewed at the school
sites and agency and regional offices said that compared to FACCOM, FMIS
is better and easier to use. One facility manager in Arizona said FMIS is
easier to use because the system automatically sends messages to him when
changes are made to the data, allowing him to instantly see when updates
have been made to his school*s data. Another facility manager in Arizona
said FMIS*s automated functions, such as drop- down menus, make it user
friendly. Finally, according to BIA officials, FACCOM was only accessible
by about 3- 4 percent of facility managers, which did not include facility
managers located at the schools. FMIS is designed to be accessible by all
of BIA*s facility managers, including those at the school

sites, via an Internet connection. Although most of the facility managers
we visited at the schools said FMIS was better compared to FACCOM, FMIS*
Design

Addresses Previous Information System*s Shortcomings and

Appears to Have the Capability to Meet BIA*s Needs

FMIS Is Designed to Resolve Shortcomings with the Previous Information
System

Page 9 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

many had been unable to access FMIS at school sites since December of 2001
due to a court order that shut down access to BIA*s Internet site. 7 These
facility managers had to travel to agency or regional offices to enter

data or had to forward data to these offices for data entry. FMIS is also
designed to help BIA employees improve the accuracy of the data, in part
through automated mechanisms that help facility managers consistently
describe the category and rank of backlog entries and the funding needed
to address them. 8 One difficulty under FACCOM was that entries listed in
the backlog were often categorized incorrectly with inflated priorities,
making it difficult to determine which projects needed immediate
attention. To address this problem, FMIS is designed to restrict who can
enter safety deficiencies, which are given first priority for funding. In
addition, FMIS is designed to only accept entries that have been reviewed
and approved by three different levels of BIA management and the
contractor. Further, BIA refined the definitions of how backlog items
should be categorized and ranked to help facility managers use the
definitions consistently. The definitions now include nine categories and
a ranking system for determining the priority of the items entered into
the backlog (see table 1). These nine categories describe whether the
deficiency at the school affects safety and endangers students* lives;
violates an environmental, disability, or energy standard; is a
maintenance or capital improvement item; or requires an emergency repair.
In addition, the system ranks items using a scale from one through three*
with one

describing the most severe deficiency. The backlog entries ranked as a *1*
will most likely be funded first because they are the highest priority.
FMIS requires facility managers to enter an associated category and rank
for all items entered into the backlog. Such a process, with its greater

7 In the Cobell v. Norton litigation concerning the government*s
management of Native American trust funds, a U. S. District Court judge,
on December 5, 2001, ordered the Department of the Interior to disconnect
from the Internet all information technology systems that house or provide
access to individual Indian trust data and all computers within the
custody and control of Interior, its employees, and contractors that have
access

to individual trust data. In an order dated December 17, 2001, the judge
held that Interior could reconnect systems to the Internet with the
approval of a court- appointed Special Master. As of June 16, 2003, the
BIA facilities management information system had not been reconnected to
the Internet.

8 Entries to FMIS are identified through physical inspections and entered
by the BIA contractor, the Division of Safety and Risk Management,
facilities management field staff, or the Division of Environmental
Services. Cost estimates are developed from these inspections and are
routed through the contractor from either the facilities management field
staff or the Division of Environmental Services, according to BIA
officials.

Page 10 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

specificity in how to categorize and rank deficiencies, can help facility
managers improve consistency in the data entered for all 171 schools.

Table 1. Description of Backlog Categories and Ranks Category of violation
Code and rank Emergency U- 1* an unforeseen event in which danger exists
that could reasonably be expected to cause death, physical harm,

or property damage. Safety S- 1* serious deficiency that poses a threat to
safety and

health, such as fire safety violations. S- 2* moderate deficiency such as
poor lighting or trip or fall hazards.

Physical plant (maintenance) M- 1* deficiency related to the structural,
mechanical, or

electrical systems that render it inoperable, such as the deterioration of
a roof that causes interior building damage.

M- 2* deficiency related to the facility, systems, or grounds, such as
replacing worn door locks that are inoperable M- 3* functional facility
equipment exceeds its normal life expectancy.

Handicapped H- 1* serious code deficiency, such as the lack of accessible
door hardware. H- 2* violation of codes and standards, such as the lack of

code compliant accessible handrails. Environmental X- 1* serious code
deficiency that poses a threat to life or

property, such as removing friable asbestos in occupied areas.

X- 2* code deficiency, such as removing asbestos floor tiles from a
building. Predictive renewals R- 3* backlogs identified for future
planning to determine the

life cycle needs beyond the 5- year plan. New construction C- 1* to
replace buildings with serious code/ safety deficiencies

or to abate numerous high cost code violations that meet or exceed the
replacement cost rule.

C- 2* to accommodate functional or programmatic needs, such as replacing
an undersized dining room to accommodate the student population.

Programmatic capital improvements P- 2* to change the functional space or
to accommodate

programmatic space needs, such as retrofitting an existing classroom into
a computer laboratory.

Energy E- 2* violation of energy codes and standards, such as upgrading or
replacing inefficient heating systems.

E- 3* deficiencies, which when corrected will reduce energy use, such as
replacing weather seals on exterior doors. Source: BIA data.

Page 11 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

To help facility managers develop accurate and consistent cost estimates
to address backlog items, FMIS is designed to operate with a software
program that helps facility managers accomplish industry standard cost
estimates for replacement, renovation, or construction projects over
$5,000. A facility manager at a school site we visited said that this
software tool eliminates the need to make calculations by hand, and thus
greatly assists him in estimating accurate costs for school projects.

Another accuracy- related area that plagued FACCOM was that projects would
continue on the active backlog list even after completion. The FMIS
backlog module is designed with a *backlog completion screen* that stores
completion dates, costs, and narrative comments. This function helps
facility managers monitor the length of time that funded backlog items
remained on the backlog without being completed. Unlike FACCOM, FMIS is
designed with a tracking function that identifies the name of the person
who entered or updated a particular backlog item. Managers can use this
function to seek clarification or justification for items that have not
been completed within a reasonable timeframe.

The FMIS inventory module, one of six modules in the system, 9 is designed
to assist BIA in determining operations and maintenance funding for its
school facilities. Specifically, the inventory module is designed to
manage information about all of BIA*s school buildings, rooms, towers
(such as a water tower), and grounds, along with their associated
inventory items, such as stairs, sidewalks, or playgrounds. The inventory
module also details if the property is owned, operated, or maintained by
BIA directly or under contract or grant. The inventory module is designed
with the

capacity to integrate with other FMIS modules in order to generate reports
and provide detailed documentation for federal funding purposes.

At the schools we visited, several facility managers said the inventory
function in FMIS helps them to better manage their school facilities. For
example, one school facility manager in Arizona said FMIS helps him more
accurately keep track of his school*s inventory and allowed him to enter
the information that is necessary for BIA to make good funding decisions.
Another facility manager in South Dakota said that because only one staff
9 The six modules that make up FMIS are inventory, budget, project
management, backlog, reports, and work tickets. BIA is in the process of
implementing a seventh module, the

work plan module. FMIS Is Designed to Assist

BIA in Making Funding Decisions for Annual Operating Expenses and Routine
Maintenance

Page 12 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

person can enter information into the inventory module, his school is able
to maintain consistency in inventory changes and additions.

The FMIS backlog module is designed to help BIA officials prioritize and
make funding decisions for needed repair projects and capital
improvements. The backlog collects and tracks condition data related to
deficiencies, capital improvements, or construction for specific inventory
items, such as classrooms, sidewalks, or utility systems. These data are

entered into FMIS by a facility manager, by safety officers as a part of a
safety inspection, or by BIA*s contractor. Although the backlog module can
store information about any identified deficiency, the only items that are
reported as part of BIA*s backlog are those with an estimated cost of more
than $1,000 to fix. These deficiencies, which may be grouped together to
form repair, replacement, or construction projects are maintained in the
backlog until funded and complete. During our site visits, many of the
facility managers said the backlog module helped them to better manage
their facilities. For example, one school facility manager in Arizona said
FMIS*s ability to store digital pictures was helpful because

a picture of a deficiency could be sent to the regional facility manager
and reviewed without the facility manager traveling nearly 284 miles to
the school.

Facility managers at schools use the information in the backlog module to
justify funding needs for repair projects and capital improvements at
their schools. BIA management officials allocating funding among the
schools said the data in the backlog module allow them to determine which
deficiencies are related to student safety and need to be addressed
immediately, and which are related to capital improvements, such as roof
replacement, that are planned for the future. BIA officials said they use
the backlog data to help improve the physical condition of their schools
in

order to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for the students.
FMIS Is Designed to Help

BIA Prioritize and Justify Funding for Repair Projects and Capital
Improvements

Page 13 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

BIA*s engineering contractor has corrected the inventory and backlog data
that existed in the old data system, but BIA has not transferred all
corrected information to the new FMIS. The contractor completed its
validation of the inventory data in February 2003, and BIA plans to
transfer the corrected data into the FMIS by August 2003. BIA officials
expect that the corrected inventory data, in conjunction with improvement
to the

existing funding formula, 10 will enhance their ability to better match
funding with annual expenses for utilities and routine maintenance at each
school site. For the backlog data, BIA*s contractor is in the third year
of the second cycle review of the condition of BIA- funded schools as
planned. In fiscal year 2002, the contractor visited 33 schools and
identified corrections to add, delete, or adjust the FMIS data. BIA,
however, had not entered the results of these condition assessments into
FMIS for over 1 year. BIA officials attribute the long delays in
correcting the FMIS condition data to a revised process for verifying
contractor data and to software compatibility problems that they say are
being addressed.

The FMIS inventory module contains data on BIA facilities, including
almost 2,200 separate buildings that are occupied by or used for BIAfunded
schools. More than 50 percent (1,146) of the buildings are used directly
by children, as shown in table 2.

10 BIA*s contractor is developing a new formula for allocating operations
and maintenance funding to the schools. BIA expects to implement this
formula in fiscal year 2005, after consulting with the tribes about the
change, according to BIA officials. Inventory and Backlog Data Have

Been Validated, but Not Transferred to FMIS

Contractor Has Finished Correcting Inventory Data; BIA Plans to Transfer
the Data into FMIS Later in 2003

Page 14 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

Table 2: School Facilities Listed in the FMIS Inventory Directly Used by
Children Buildings in the inventory used by children Number of buildings

Schools 796 Dormitories 153 Gymnasium/ sports facilities 49 Multipurpose/
auditorium 64 Library 21 Kitchen/ cafeteria 63

Total 1,146

Source: BIA data. Note: Most of the remaining buildings included: fire
stations, shops, garages, pump houses, heating and utility plants, sewage
and water treatment plants, warehouses, storage facilities, communications
facilities and equipment, animal shelters, and greenhouses.

Accurate and up- to- date inventory data are crucial to the operation of
the entire FMIS because other modules rely on inventory data for planning
and prioritizing the work and for identifying and prioritizing funding
needs. For example:

 School facility managers access inventory data when planning and
scheduling routine maintenance of their facilities, grounds, and
equipment. For example, one FMIS module acts as a scheduling tool to
inform facilities managers about work, such as preventive maintenance,
that needs to be done to buildings, equipment, and other physical assets
listed in the inventory.

 BIA*s Office of Facilities Management and Construction uses inventory
data in the formula that determines the amount of operations and
maintenance funding allocated to each school location. Distribution of
this funding is calculated using a formula that includes such inventory
data as the square footage of rooms in each building and systems that
support the facility such as heating and cooling systems. Funding
distributions have been a particular source of contention for Office of
Indian Education officials, who told us that inaccuracies in the inventory
data have led to inequities in how the money is apportioned. Accurate data
that are collected using a methodology that is consistent from site to
site is a necessary component for demonstrating the fairness of the
process.

BIA*s engineering contractor, AME, has remained on schedule in its effort
to improve the accuracy of the inventory information currently in FMIS. In
conducting this effort, AME visited each school and collected inventory

Page 15 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

data using a standardized, industry- based approach to help ensure that
information on all facilities is uniformly collected and recorded. AME
completed the first phase of this effort in 2000, when it visited each
school to verify and update the inventory data listed in the FACCOM before
its transfer to FMIS in that year, according to a BIA official. This
phase, which focused on the more general aspects of the inventory, was
aimed at such matters as identifying which buildings were still in use,
the use of the facility, and who owns it. AME completed the second phase
of the improvement effort in February 2003. This second phase, which took
longer than the first phase, involved a more extensive measurement of the
buildings and updated the drawings of floor space, grounds,
infrastructure,

and utility lines. BIA*s current plans call for replacing the existing
data in FMIS with this updated and corrected data by August 2003. Our
preliminary review of the new data generated during the second phase of
AME*s work indicates that the inventory figures may change considerably
for some schools. At our request, AME officials provided revised square
footage data for more than 90 buildings (such as classroom buildings,
dormitories, multipurpose buildings, and offices) at 13 different schools.
Overall, the revised measurements for these buildings decreased the total
square footage by about 3 percent, but the range in increases and
decreases at each school varied significantly. For 9 of the schools the
decrease in square footage ranged from less than 1 percent to more than 13
percent; increases for the remaining 4 schools, ranged from less than 1
percent to almost 18 percent. We do not know if these results will be
typical for all schools. 11 One BIA official indicated, however, that some
schools were likely to experience greater changes than others in the
square footage that would qualify for O& M funding.

BIA officials said that the improved data, along with improvements to the
funding formula, will help ensure the various schools that their share of
O& M funding was objectively and accurately determined. However,

whether this corrected inventory data will be transferred to FMIS in time
for making fiscal year 2004 funding decisions is uncertain. BIA may yet
face some implementation problems as it moves into the final months of
putting this information in place. For example, during 2002, BIA attempted
to run the O& M funding formula using the existing FMIS inventory data for

11 BIA officials cited three primary reasons for square footage variance
(1) new buildings or additions to existing buildings that have not been
added to the inventory, (2) unoccupied buildings that should be
categorized as *non- maintained* and (3) those buildings where ownership
and occupancy are unclear.

Page 16 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

the first time and experienced problems with the data and software. While
the agency has had a year to work out these problems, introduction of the
updated inventory data may hold its own unforeseen problems. If such
problems are encountered and remain unresolved, a BIA official told us
that the agency would continue to use the data currently in the system to
allocate the O& M funding for fiscal year 2004.

The backlog data in FMIS reflects actions and funding needed to improve
the condition of facilities and infrastructure at the various schools now
and in the future. Most of the items listed in the backlog provide detail
for repairs needed over the next 5 years to correct what is wrong with a
facility such as a leaky roof, the presence of asbestos, or a violation of
handicapped codes and standards. However, FMIS also includes entries for
capital improvements that will need to be addressed beyond 5 years to
upgrade specific building components such as replacing lighting and power
systems, siding, and carpeting as well as future construction to replace,
renovate, and add buildings to accommodate program needs. 12 Accurate and
up- to- date backlog data are important because FMIS

contains formulas that use these data to allow BIA to make informed
decisions not only about which projects are in greatest need of attention,
but also how much money is needed to fund them each year. As of

October 2002, for example, BIA schools had a backlog of unfunded repairs
and improvements with an estimated cost over $640 million (see table 3);
FMIS shows that almost two- thirds of this amount may be needed within the
next 5 years.

12 In the FMIS, these entries are categorized as *predictive renewals.*
Contractor Is on Schedule

in Validating Backlog Data, but BIA Is Behind Schedule in Incorporating
the Updated Information

Page 17 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

Table 3: Categories of Unfunded FMIS Backlog Entries as of October 2002

Dollars in millions Category Deficiencies

should be addressed within 1 year Deficiencies

should be addressed in 1 to 2 years

Deficiencies should be addressed in 3

to 5 years Planned work scheduled for 5 to 10 years

New construction and other capital

improvements Total

Emergency* a danger exists that could cause physical harm or property
damage, such as severe damage to a roof from a storm. $1,939 a $1,939 a

Safety* deficiency that affects safety and health, such as fire safety.
65,304 $20,700 $62 86,066

Physical plant (maintenance)* structural, mechanical, or electrical
deficiency, such as aging

roof or defective boiler. 32,960 53,499 154,115 240,573 Handicapped*
violates code and standards, such as lack of accessible door hardware.
1,926 14,989 63 16,978

Environmental* deficiency such as the presence of friable asbestos in
occupied areas or leaking storage tanks. 1,441 13,766 15,207

Predictive renewals* to anticipate replacement of building components,
such as carpeting or roofing systems. $73,895 b 73,895 b

New construction* to replace entire school or buildings. $112,468 112,468

Programmatic capital improvements* to renovate and add to buildings to
meet program needs. 42,301 42,301

Energy* violates energy standards, such as inefficient heating or lighting
systems. 53,186 53,186

Total $103,570 (16%)

$102,954 (16%)

$207,426 (32%)

$73,895 (12%)

$154,769 (24%)

$642,613 (100%)

Source: BIA data.

Page 18 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

a A BIA official said that the amounts requested in the emergency category
were for reimbursement of funds already spent to correct any outstanding
deficiencies. b The estimated amount for predictive renewals is not
reported to the Congress as part of the backlog total because these
entries are not yet deficiencies, but BIA is anticipating the time period
in which they will become deficiencies and need to be addressed, according
to a BIA official.

AME currently validates the backlog for each school in a 3- year cycle.
During its first review, in 1999, AME conducted a 100- percent validation
of the backlog data prior to transferring that data from the old FACCOM
system to the new FMIS backlog module. In that review, AME updated the
backlog data by confirming entries already in the system, updating the
costs estimated to conduct the work, deleting entries for duplicate items
or completed work, and identifying new entries. Results of the validation
effort, as shown in table 4, increased the backlog by more than $265
million; almost 28 percent of the total backlog of $960 million that
existed in 1999.

Table 4: Modifications to the Backlog Data from AME*s 100- Percent
Validation in 1999

Dollars in millions Change to backlog data Number of changes Cost change

New deficiencies 39,143 $865,850 Modifications 14,579 a Completed work
6,964 (169,928) Deleted (duplicate entries) 14,186 (430,348)

Total changes 74,872 $265,574

Source: BIA data. a Data were not available.

AME has since started the second review of each school, which consists of
updating this information for a certain percentage of the facilities each
year. AME updated 20 percent of the facilities in each year 2001 and 2002.
For 2003, AME is on track to increase the percentage of facilities
reviewed each year to 34 percent to comply with recent changes in the law.
13 These updates involve visually inspecting the architectural,
structural, mechanical, and electrical components of each facility to
determine if action is still needed and to update the estimated costs. In

13 Under Public Law 107- 110 (2002), section 1125( b)( 6), BIA is required
to periodically update the FMIS; in fulfilling this requirement, BIA*s
contractor is updating the inventory and assessing the condition of about
one- third of the school facilities each year.

Page 19 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

addition, AME identifies new deficiencies, including the extent to which
handicapped accessibility requirements are met, and verifying estimated
costs. Our review of some updates conducted during fiscal year 2002
indicates that AME*s reviews will continue to result in substantial
changes in backlog data. We obtained data for 14 of the schools reviewed
between February and April 2002. 14 For the 14 schools, the AME update
resulted in a net increase of almost $11 million (see table 5) in the
unfunded FMIS backlog of more than $39 million, an increase of about 28
percent. Part of the change involved modifications to deficiencies already
in the backlog inventory, such as revising cost estimates and deleting
projects that had

been completed or no longer needed but were still listed in the backlog as
ongoing. However, a large part of the change involved adding new
deficiencies to the backlog. In all, there were almost 650 new backlog
entries, and more than 75 percent of these entries were for deficiencies
identified at school facilities and dormitories, where children are the
primary occupants. 15 For example, there were more than 200 entries for
dormitories with an estimated cost of almost $4 million. None of these
entries were for urgent or safety deficiencies that needed immediate
attention; most were maintenance deficiencies that will need attention
over the next 2 to 5 years, such as repairing lighting and plumbing
systems, carpeting, and ceilings.

14 This was slightly more than 40 percent of the 33 schools AME reviewed
during 2002. 15 Includes dormitories, gymnasiums, libraries, and classroom
facilities.

Page 20 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

Table 5: Estimated Total Cost Changes to the FMIS Backlog for 14 Schools

Dollars in millions

Category Net cost change to backlog

Physical plant (maintenance) $5,536 Safety (329) Environmental (76)
Handicapped 1,120 New construction* school replacement 1,903 Programmatic
capital improvements* renovations to meet program needs 1,140

Energy 228 Predictive renewals 1,397

Total change $10,919

Source: BIA data.

While the contractor*s field assessments are proceeding on schedule, there
have been significant delays in incorporating the 2002 updated backlog
data into FMIS. In fiscal year 2001, the first year of the updates, the
contractor assessed the condition of 39 schools and transferred the data
from its information system to the FMIS without problems, according to BIA
and contractor officials. However, officials said that in fiscal year
2002, the untimely transfer of data from the field assessments to the
contractor*s information system 16 and software compatibility problems
between the contractor*s information system and FMIS delayed the update of
backlog data for 33 schools for over a year. These implementation

problems occurred for such reasons as the following:  BIA added a new
function to the FMIS, which took 6 months to

implement, rather than the 2 months that they had planned, according to a
BIA official. This new function involved using the FMIS, for the first
time, to generate the O& M funding amounts to be distributed to the
various schools.

 A change to the backlog category and ranking system in FMIS created
duplicate entries that took time to resolve. In the 2002 assessments, some
deficiencies that were already in the system were recategorized, and when
the update was transferred to FMIS a duplicate entry was

16 Typically, the contractor takes about 9 weeks to collect, analyze, and
transfer data from the contractor*s information system to FMIS, according
to BIA and AME officials.

Page 21 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

created instead of overwriting the old entry. According to BIA and
contractor officials, this software compatibility problem has largely been
addressed. As of April 2003, data for 27 of the 33 schools had been
entered into FMIS.

A BIA official told us that delays in introducing these updates into the
FMIS backlog could have some impact on their ability to prioritize or fund
repair and capital improvement projects, but not a significant impact for
two reasons. First, the deficiencies that receive the highest points in
the project ranking system are safety deficiencies, which are identified
and updated in an annual safety inspection by BIA*s safety officers and
not AME. Second, the most critical deficiencies at the schools were
identified in the first assessment in 1999, and during this second
assessment, AME is finding very few deficiencies that would be funded
within 1 to 2 years that were not already in the system. However, one
official acknowledged that since the FMIS ranks the schools for major
repair and capital improvement projects based on the points applied to
each deficiency, if AME*s assessment indicated an increase in the severity
of a deficiency and that change was not reflected in the system, that
school could be ranked lower than if the data were up to date.

Our site visits to 8 BIA- funded schools did not disclose any instances
where serious problems were not being addressed. While facilities
management staff and school principals pointed out problems with their
facilities, we did not observe that the children were in an unsafe
learning environment with obvious safety or repair issues. The problems we
observed were either of a less serious nature, or if serious, were being
addressed in some form. For example, at a boarding school in Arizona the
principal said that the fire alarm system for the school building and
dormitory had been improperly installed and had to be replaced. While
waiting for the funding for a new system, which had been approved, they
had to use funds from the school budget to hire extra people to stand fire
watch 24 hours a day.

Page 22 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

The ability of FMIS to provide accurate and complete data depends on BIA
employees entering correct and timely information, but review processes
and training programs BIA has established for ensuring data quality have
been largely ineffective. Although adherence to federal control standards
17 are a major part of providing reasonable assurance that the objectives
of

the agency are being achieved, half of the entries proposed by BIA
employees are incorrect or incomplete and are flagged by BIA*s contractor.
Discussions with BIA employees indicate that some employees are unclear
about their responsibilities in maintaining the accuracy of FMIS data, and
the high error rates in data entry indicate that additional training is
needed in some locations to improve performance. BIA has not analyzed the
information it has available about the content and origination of the data
errors to determine the type of additional training that might be needed
or to target locations with the highest error rates for technical
assistance. Further, BIA has not established criteria or performance goals
that define its expectations for the accuracy and completeness of the data
for employees that enter and review this information. BIA*s Office of

Facilities Management and Construction, which manages FMIS, did not until
recently have authority to establish criteria or performance goals for
agency and regional office personnel that are responsible for reviewing
and approving data entries by school facility managers. BIA*s OFMC still
does not have similar authority over school facility managers who
originate most data entries. Under BIA*s current organization, such action
would have to be taken by the Office of Indian Education Programs.

BIA established a multilevel review process as a control to prevent
problems related to inaccurate and incomplete data entries to BIA*s
information system. In this process, each entry that school facility
managers propose for the backlog is first reviewed and approved by BIA
facility management personnel at an agency and a regional office before it
is sent to BIA*s contractor, AME, for review and approval, 18 with final
approval by BIA*s central office. After approval has been obtained from
each level, the status of the entry is changed from *draft* to *accepted*
in FMIS, according to BIA.

17 See U. S. General Accounting Office, Standards for Internal Control in
the Federal Government, GAO/ AIMD- 00- 21. 3.1, (Washington D. C., Nov.
1999). 18 Because changes to the square footage in the inventory affects
operations and maintenance funding, additions or subtractions to the
inventory are also reviewed at the agency and regional offices before it
goes to the central office for final approval; the contractor, however,
does not review these entries. Control Measures in

Place for Ensuring Data Quality Are Largely Ineffective

Despite BIA Review Process, Its Contractor Rejects Half of All FMIS Data
Entries

Page 23 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

Although BIA established this multilevel review process to improve the
quality of the data entered into FMIS, AME continues to reject half of the
proposed entries because they are inaccurate and incomplete. For example,
between August 2001 and December 2002, out of more than 650 entries to the
backlog made by facilities management staff from 102 schools, more than
300, or almost 50 percent, were rejected by the contractor. BIA documents
show that the incidence of the errors among the 102 schools was
widespread. In all, 73 of the 102 schools entering data had one or more
entries disapproved, and 33 of them had all entries

disapproved (see table 6).

Table 6: Extent of Disapproved Entries in FMIS among 102 Schools
Submitting Data, August 2001 to December 2002. Percentage of entries
disapproved Number of schools in each category

0 29 1- 25 12 26- 50 12 51- 74 12 75- 99 4 100 33 Source: BIA data.

Facility management staff at the regional and agency offices appear to
have the necessary background to fulfill their responsibilities for
screening and correcting inaccurate and incomplete data entries; however,
it may be unclear to some reviewers what their role is in this process.
Federal

control standards require that employees have the requisite knowledge,
skills, and abilities to perform their job appropriately and have clear
roles and responsibilities outlined in their job descriptions. Among the
facilities management staffs in the agency and regional offices that we
interviewed, most had an engineering background or had significant
experience in facilities management and they were aware that maintaining
accurate and

complete data in the FMIS was important. However, facilities managers we
interviewed at two regional offices each had a different view about their
role in the review process. One said that it was important that the
backlog entries are consistent and that two staff had been designated to
review the FMIS entries from the schools and agencies in the region before
being sent on to the central office for review by the contractor. The
second manager

said he reviewed the entries so that he knew what new additions were Roles
and Responsibilities

May Be Unclear to Employees Reviewing Data Entries

Page 24 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

being proposed for the backlog; he did not consider it his role to
critique the entries for accuracy and completeness.

Although most BIA locations have staffs that have received training to use
FMIS, the extent of the errors indicates that employees may not be
receiving the kind of training needed to create accurate and complete data
entries. Standards for internal control in the federal government include
a commitment to competence, which includes the provision that employees
receive the appropriate training necessary to improve their performance.
BIA has developed a training program that is intended to provide FMIS
users with sufficient information to operate the system. All FMIS users
receive 40 hours of training before they are given a password that allows
them to access the system, according to BIA; a review of BIA*s training
log indicates that about 70 percent of the schools have at least one staff
member onsite that has received this training. 19 While training appears
to be adequate in terms of providing staff with the

basic skills needed to use the computer- based applications, what appears
to be lacking in the training program is more specific instruction and
guidance on the kinds of information that are needed to enter an accurate
and complete deficiency to the backlog. BIA officials acknowledged that a
user manual to provide this type of guidance was lacking and should be
developed. BIA officials said developing the FMIS training has been a
challenge because the facilities management staffs have different levels
of knowledge about computers* for some facility managers, FMIS training
was their first exposure to using a computer. The training programs were
developed to meet the needs of this diverse group of users, according to
the contractor that developed and provides the training. In our site
visits we asked users about the training that they had received for using
FMIS; almost all of the staff that we interviewed said that they were
pleased with the training they received and believed that it had prepared
them for using FMIS. In addition, they said that when they did have
problems they contacted central office with questions and/ or problems
with using the system, the response was prompt and very helpful. However,
the engineering contractor indicated that the varying levels of

experience and expertise is a difficulty affecting staff*s ability to
input data 19 For those schools that do not have trained staff, the
facility manager at the agency office is responsible for updating the
data, according to a BIA official. Training Program May be

Insufficient to Prepare Users

Page 25 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

successfully. He said that there are more than 180 sites with education
buildings for which data must be entered and the level of knowledge and
expertise about facilities and the kinds of information needed for an FMIS
entry varies widely* particularly in those sites where the turnover rate
of facilities management staff is high. We were unable to obtain

comprehensive data on the turnover rate for the facility management staff,
but among the schools that we visited, the facilities managers* length of
employment at their current location ranged from 2 years to 17 years.

BIA officials have information on the number and reasons that data entries
are rejected at each location, but said that they had not used this
information to provide performance counseling to employees or modify the
training and guidance in this regard. Standards for internal control in
the federal government include the provision that employees receive the
feedback necessary to improve their performance. Analyzing the extent and
content of data errors would be helpful to determine the type and amount
of additional training and guidance needed to improve employee

performance at schools, agencies, and regional offices and target them
appropriately for technical assistance. BIA data we reviewed indicated
that the reasons for disapproval generally fell into one of four groups
and were consistent with historical data entry problems experienced under
the old FACCOM system. For example,  more detailed description was needed
for the deficiency; a roof repair,

for example, required specific information about the kind of roof and its
size;

 questionable cost estimates involving labor rates or material costs; 
duplicate entry for a deficiency already in the backlog; and  wrong
category and/ or rank for the entry such as categorizing the

replacement of asbestos floor tiles as maintenance rather than
environmental, which are funded from different sources. Of these problems,
most of the rejected backlog entries generally related to insufficient
detail to accurately estimate the cost to address the deficiency,
according to an AME official who reviewed and rejected many of these
entries. The kind of detail that is needed to successfully enter a
deficiency can be seen in an example involving the repair of a leaking
roof.

To adequately estimate the cost for this repair, information is needed
about the size of the area that needs repair or replacement, the BIA Does
Not Use

Information on Error Rates to Improve Employee Performance

Page 26 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

composition of the roof (such as asphalt shingles or tile), and other
associated components (such as whether skylights or gutters are present
and whether they also need to be replaced). We reviewed one entry that had
been rejected by the contractor because it came through the review process
without information about the roof*s size or its composition.

The ineffectiveness of BIA*s guidance, training, and review processes to
minimize inaccurate or incomplete data entries by its employees suggests
that accountability is another issue that deserves attention. Federal
standards require that agencies clearly establish authority and
responsibility for achieving agency goals and hold their employees

accountable for performing their assigned responsibilities in a competent
manner. During our review, the organization of BIA was such that the
office that manages FMIS did not have line authority to establish
performance criteria and standards for the BIA employees that entered and
reviewed the FMIS data.

In April 2003, BIA announced a new organization plan. This plan may offer
OFMC greater opportunity to establish performance criteria and standards
for facility managers at agency and regional offices. BIA officials told
us the reorganization would not provide OFMC with line authority for
facility managers at schools. However, the Director of the Office of
Indian Education programs said that his office would work with OFMC to
establish comparable performance criteria and standards for school
facility managers.

FMIS is designed to assist BIA employees improve the quality of
information used to manage school facilities, but the quality of the
decisions that BIA makes for managing the operations and maintenance,
repair, and construction of its facilities is directly dependent upon BIA
employees entering correct and timely information. Currently, the FMIS
data that BIA uses for making its decisions are improving as the data are
updated by its contractor and entered into FMIS* to date the inventory
data have been updated and the contractor is in the third year of
assessing the condition of the schools and updating the backlog for the
second time. However, challenges remain in BIA*s efforts to improve the
quality of data entered by its employees. Although BIA has implemented
controls for

ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the FMIS data entered and
reviewed by BIA employees, they do not work effectively. Without the role
of the contractor as a reviewer of new entries by field staff and in

conducting site visits to verify and update the data, the quality of the
FMIS Employees Not Held

Accountable for FMIS Data Integrity

Conclusion

Page 27 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

data could quickly become inaccurate and out of date. BIA has not taken
the necessary steps to hold its staff accountable for data accuracy or to
use the available information on why the problems exist to develop
training programs and target technical assistance where it is needed. Such
actions are needed if BIA is to rely on its employees, rather than the
contractor, to ensure that it provides a safe and quality learning
environment for Indian children.

To better enable BIA to rely on its employees for maintaining accurate and
complete information in the FMIS, we recommend that the Office of the
Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs

 establish data standards for accuracy and completeness of FMIS data and
related performance criteria for BIA employees who are responsible for
entering and reviewing the data and

 analyze available error data and use this information to provide its
employees with the necessary training, guidance, and technical assistance
to improve performance.

We provided a draft of this report to the Department of the Interior for
its review and comment. Interior*s comments are provided in appendix II.
In its written comments, Interior agreed with our findings and

recommendations and said that BIA is establishing a special working group
to develop a plan to address our recommendations. In addition, BIA will
consider our comments and observations as it continues to develop and
implement the FMIS.

We will send copies of this report to the Secretary of the Department of
Interior, relevant congressional committees, Indian education
organizations, and other interested parties, and will make copies
available to others upon request. In addition, the report will be
available at no charge on GAO*s Web site at http:// www. gao. gov. Please
contact me at Recommendation for

Executive Action Agency Comments on Our Evaluation

Page 28 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

(202) 512- 6778 if you or your staff have any questions about this report.
Other major contributors to this report are listed in appendix III.

Marnie S. Shaul Director, Education, Workforce,

and Income Security Issues

Page 29 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management List of
Congressional Committees

The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell Chairman The Honorable Daniel K.
Inouye Vice Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs United States Senate

The Honorable Judd Gregg Chairman The Honorable Edward Kennedy Ranking
Minority Member Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions United
States Senate

The Honorable Ted Stevens Chairman The Honorable Robert C. Byrd Ranking
Minority Member Committee on Appropriations United States Senate

The Honorable Richard Pombo Chairman The Honorable Nick J. Rahall, II
Ranking Minority Member Committee on Resources House of Representatives

The Honorable John A. Boehner Chairman The Honorable George Miller Ranking
Minority Member Committee on Education and the Workforce House of
Representatives

The Honorable C. W. Bill Young Chairman The Honorable David R. Obey
Ranking Minority Member Committee on Appropriations House of
Representatives

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

Page 30 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

The objectives of this study were to determine (1) whether the Bureau of
Indian Affairs (BIA) new facilities management information system (FMIS)
addresses the former system*s shortcomings and meets BIA*s needs for
managing school facilities; (2) the status of BIA*s effort to validate the
accuracy and completeness of the data being transferred from the old
system into FMIS; and (3) how well BIA*s quality control measures are
working to ensure that new data entered into FMIS are accurate and
complete.

To determine the extent to which FMIS was designed to address weaknesses
of the previous data processing system and how the new system meets BIA*s
facility management needs we reviewed contractor reports, BIA
documentation on the FMIS, and interviewed contractors and BIA
headquarters, regional, agency, and school facility management staff.
First, we reviewed the needs assessment studies conducted by independent
contractors to identify old system weaknesses and the

recommendations made for addressing the system problems. We then reviewed
the FMIS documentation to determine whether the system addressed
weaknesses identified in the needs assessment. In addition, we conducted
interviews with some of the contractors hired by BIA to build and
implement the system. We also interviewed BIA officials at the Office of
Facilities Management and Construction, the Division of Safety and

Risk Management, and the Office of Indian Education Programs about
improvements in the new system and how it meets their management needs.
Finally, to understand how well school facility management staff received
FMIS, we conducted site visits to 8 schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and
South Dakota. We selected these schools to obtain a mix based on their
differences in size, geographic location, type of school (i. e., grade
level, day school, or on- reservation boarding school), and whether it was
BIA- operated or tribal- operated. At these schools, we interviewed
facility managers, education line officers, principals, and tribal
officials. We also interviewed facility management staff at two regional
and five agency offices that provide facility management services to the
schools.

To determine the extent to which the FMIS inventory and backlog data are
accurate and complete we used three methods. First, we obtained data from
two sources (1) a copy of the FMIS database and (2) a copy of the

contractor file of backlog data from the fiscal year 2002 condition
assessments of 14 schools. The data in these files were assessed for
reliability, which included looking for missing data, the relationship of
one data element to another, values beyond a given range, and dates
outside of valid time frames. We determined that the data were
sufficiently reliable Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and

Methodology

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

Page 31 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

for the purposes of this report. We also calculated summary statistics of
the data from these files. Second, we evaluated BIA*s multilevel review
process. For this analysis, we obtained data on the number of backlog
entries made by facility managers and the number that had been accepted
and rejected by the contractor. In addition, we reviewed the log of
entries

that had been rejected by the contractor to understand the reasons for
these rejections. We also interviewed the contractor and BIA central
office and regional and agency facility management staff about this review
process. Finally, we accompanied BIA*s engineering contractor on site
visits to 2 schools in Arizona where we evaluated their methodologies for
data collection and validation of the inventory and backlog data.

To determine how well BIA*s internal control measures are working for its
FMIS we first reviewed our standards on internal controls to identify
controls that apply to an organization*s management of an information
system. We then compared the BIA controls with those identified in our
reports to evaluate the effectiveness of the BIA controls. Additionally,
we interviewed staff at the BIA central office about the internal controls
they

had in place for the FMIS. We also interviewed staff at the regional and
agency offices and the schools about one of the controls* the
effectiveness of the training they received.

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior Page 32 GAO- 03-
692 BIA School Facilities Management

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior Page 33 GAO- 03-
692 BIA School Facilities Management

Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments

Page 34 GAO- 03- 692 BIA School Facilities Management

Cindy Ayers, Assistant Director (206) 654- 5591 Nancy Purvine, Analyst-
in- Charge (206) 287- 4878 In addition to the individuals mentioned above,
Jessica Botsford, Maya

Chakko, Terry Dorn, David Gill, Barbara Johnson, Nathan Morris, Stan
Stenerson, and Michelle Zapata made significant contributions to this
report. Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff

Acknowledgments GAO Contacts Staff Acknowledgments

(130156)

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