U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery, D-Kan., said today that he will ask Congress to increase appropriations to Haskell Indian Junior College by more than 50 percent, bringing funding to $12 million.
Slattery, whose district includes Lawrence, said he requested a $4.2 million increase for next fiscal year to improve the college's building and instructional budget.
During testimony before a House appropriations subcommittee, the congressman said he realized that not all of his request for Haskell would be granted.
"But it is important to make the requests that are needed to enable Haskell to perform its mission," he said.
THE WISH list includes:
$3 million for dormitory construction.
$500,000 to address safety concerns
$394,000 to restore President Bush's proposed budget cut.
$300,000 for Haskell's summer school program.
Slattery said his top priority is restoration of Bush's recommended cut in Haskell's fiscal year 1991 budget. The '91 fiscal year begins in October.
"Haskell's instructional budget is operating at the same funding level as it was in 1978 without adjusting for inflation," he said.
Slattery said at least $500,000 was needed to respond to safety concerns raised in a report compiled by the U.S. Department of Interior in February.
"It is absolutely critical that the safety-related concerns be addressed as soon as possible," he said.
HE SAID A major barrier for Native Americans who want to attend Haskell is a shortage of on-campus housing, which is provided at no cost to students.
Instructional space exists for a Haskell student body of 1,100 students, but dormitory space exists for 715 students. About 800 students are enrolled.
"Due to high rental costs in Lawrence," Slattery said, "barely 15 percent of Haskell students are able to afford off-campus housing."
The congressman also requested $300,000 for the Haskell summer school program that is expected to attract 200 students.
"Summer school will benefit Haskell students by giving them the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree requirements," he said.
The bill including funding for Haskell may be considered by the subcommittee this week, he said.