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Johnson-O'Malley sports grants frozen

Due to budget issues
By Duran Bobb
   W.S. Correspondent
   As of Sept. 25, members of the Warm Springs Johnson-O'Malley Committee were informed that grants being considered for sports gear and equipment have been frozen due to budget issues.
   The Johnson-O'Malley Act was passed in 1934 to subsidize education, medical attention and other services provided by states to Native Americans living within their borders. Education is the focus of the act.
   A provision of the act allows a local committee of Native American parents the power to agree or disagree with school programs.
   "To make a long story short," JOM Committee Chairman Deanie Smith said, "JOM is overbudget. The carryover from several previous years is no longer available because it was allocated to a general fund and dispersed to other programs. How this happened, I'm not sure. I have a lot of questions about those that handle the money and those that have access to it."
   JOM Committee members were told at a recent meeting that the program was out of money for the remainder of the year.
   "JOM was doing a great thing, and now we do not have the necessary funds to cover the projects that we wanted to help out with this fall," she said.
   However, services are billed after rendered by the 509-J School District, so some services which are normally paid for by JOM will not be billed until next year. Services such as the academic activity bus will continue, a committee member said.
   Some projects JOM is involved with include winter sports allowances, individual scholarships, the academic activity bus, the restocking of school supplies, student incentive programs, Central Oregon Basketball Organization fees, and the purchase of JCMS-required uniforms, among others.
   The projects that were frozen included fall sports allowances, band instrumental rental fees, music books, physical education uniforms, and two reimbursements for JCMS uniforms.
   Committee members met with JOM Cash Management, secretary and treasurer in hopes that the issue could be worked out and $50,000 would be returned to the JOM budget in the form of a carryover.
   "The JOM Committee was informed that they had a healthy budget of $119,000 back in April and March," Smith said.
   Cash Management sent an email to the committee stating that, because there was no contract from previous years, there was no carryover that applied. The remaining amount would be allocated to other programs.
   "I hope we gather support in letters and go before Tribal Council," JOM Committee member Danni Katchia-Herkshan said. "We need to remain positive within the community. Deanie has done a great job. She, along with the rest of the dedicated parents who attend the meetings weekly."
   "I'm thankful for the assistance our family has received from JOM," parent C. Ollie Smith said. "I've done it on my own for years, and anything helps."