Rep. Jim Slattery, D-Kan., says he will fight to restore a $777,000 cut in Haskell Indian Junior College's budget for fiscal year 1992.
President Bush's budget plan would cut the college's instructional budget to $5,980,000. In a telephone interview Tuesday, Slattery said he was confident the cut would be restored by Congress. He also said he was not surprised by the administration's proposal to give Haskell $777,000 less next year than it received this year.
"It's the same old game," Slattery said. "I think the administration knows that I will work to get this restored. This is just part of the game that is played."
Slattery said the cut would be devastating to Haskell, a federally funded two-year school for Native Americans. He said Haskell shouldn't be expected to operate on an inadequate budget.
"There isn't a school in America that's expected to live on the budget it had last year," Slattery said. "I'm going to continue to work to make sure that Haskell is adequately funded. What you're talking about at Haskell Indian Junior College is young Native Americans who have tremendous potential if given the opportunity."
SLATTERY SAID he also would request additional funding for summer school and a new residence hall.
On-campus housing has been a problem at the Bureau of Indian Affairs school for several years. Haskell President Bob Martin has said in earlier interviews that he believes the college's enrollment would increase if more on-campus housing was available. Slattery agrees.
"I'm convinced that if Haskell had adequate housing on campus, the enrollment would significantly increase," he said.
Slattery said he was unsure about what was specifically targeted in the $777,000 cut. An aide in Sen. Nancy Kassebaum's office today said Kassebaum also didn't know specifically what items were targeted.
"I do know that they (Haskell) desperately need the $777,000," Slattery said. "I don't believe Haskell was adequately funded at last year's level."
AFTER last-minute budget negotiations in October, $6.75 million was appropriated for Haskell's instructional budget for fiscal year '91. The college's instructional budget is separate from its operations budget, which Slattery said probably would be determined soon.
Slattery said he expected to work with Sens. Kassebaum and Bob Dole to restore Haskell's instructional budget.
Martin is meeting today in Washington, D.C., with BIA officials to discuss the FY '92 budget. The chairman of Haskell's Board of Regents also plans to testify before the House Appropriations Committee in March.