February 27, 2020 -- H.Res.872 - Recognizing the vital importance of Native American participation in the 2020 decennial census of population.  Sponsor:  Rep. Kendra S. Horn

November 1, 2019 -- Presentation by Steve Pruitt at the NIEA in Minneapolis, MN on October 9, 2019.

October 4, 2019 -- Tribal Student Count Information form needed from all Federally Recognized Tribes

Please complete this “Tribal Student Count Information” form for all current and potentially new JOM programs funded by your Tribe.  This information will assist NJOMA and you in validating the total number of Indian students eligible for JOM funding. 

The ‘‘Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act,’’ P.L. 115-404, Section 7 [COMPUTATION OF STUDENT COUNT], Subsection (b) [DETERMINATION OF THE NUMBER OF ELIGIBLE INDIAN STUDENTS], part 1-B-2 [DATA RECONCILIATION] provides:

“To improve the accuracy of the preliminary report described in clause (i) prior to publishing, the Secretary shall reconcile the data described in the preliminary report with— (I) each existing contracting party’s data regarding the number of eligible Indian students served by the existing contracting party for the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the initial determination is made; and (II) identifiable tribal enrollment information.”

The Modernization Act further establishes a “COMMENT PERIOD (part iii)” that allows: “After publishing the preliminary report under clause (i) in accordance with clause (ii), the Secretary shall establish a 60-day comment period to gain feedback about the preliminary report from eligible entities, which the Secretary shall take into consideration in preparing a final report.”

We currently expect this 60-day comment period (the data reconciliation process) to run from October 15, 2019 to December 15, 2019. Afterwards, the BIE will then issue a “Final Student Count” for use in calculating future funding proposals, and ultimate funding allocations for the 2020-2021 School year by April 15, 2020 (120 days after the Comment Period).

Please return this form to NJOMA (njoma1994@gmail.com) by November 22, 2019.
Thank you for your assistance!
National Johnson - O'Malley Association Board

August 20, 2019 -- Statement of NJOMA Position on the Proposed Rule: - Education Contracts under Johnson-O'Malley Act - RIN1076 -AF24
P.L. 115-404 provides that “Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the JOM Modernization Act, the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Indian Education, shall undertake and complete a rulemaking process, following the provisions of subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code.” The Act specifically directs the Secretary to determine how the regulatory definition of ‘eligible Indian student’ may be revised to clarify eligibility requirements; determine, as necessary, how the funding formula may be clarified and revised to ensure full participation of contracting parties and provide clarity on the funding process; and reconcile and modernize the rules to comport with the activities of the contracting parties as of the date of enactment of the JOM Modernization Act.

NJOMA is completely mindful of the Secretary’s impending December 31, 2019 deadline for completion of this rulemaking. We have repeatedly communicated our willingness to work closely with the Director of the Bureau of Indian Education to address the critical policy issues identified as a result of the new law for revision and modernization of the JOM program following more than 40-years of activity under rules that were last revised in the 1970s. As the direct providers of JOM services, NJOMA members have first-hand experience in trying to operate this program under rules that have literally gone untouched since 1975. During Congressional consideration of the Act, NJOMA advocated for the use of a Working Group approach verses the Bureau’s traditional consultative activities in rulemaking. We passionately believe that there is a compelling need to both identify and ultimately resolve policy concerns beyond the fundamental ones cited in the Act, and to do so via mutual agreement rather than following procedures that in Indian country are often rife with controversy. In our view, we were and continue to be hopeful that use of a Working Group approach to this rulemaking would expedite the whole process, would bring to the process program and institutional knowledge that the Bureau lacks, and produce a set of rules that will facilitate the efficient operation of a program that enhances the educational and trust objectives of the federal government and Indian country.     

While these proposed rules address, in a positive manner, a number of the policy concerns that we and others raised as Congress considered the legislation creating this new law, the NJOMA Agenda Setting Group that we have organized has identified issues too numerous to attempt to comment fully in writing on for this proposed rule and the final rule that should come. Given the many additional issues that our Group has identified, we are led to believe that the rule’s drafters clearly do not know and did not ask simple who, what, where and why questions about the current activities and Bureau provided guidance provided to contracting parties on program operation.

We are also concerned about the many references to heretofore, nonexistent Bureau officials who would be charged with program oversight and approval responsibilities when the program expands to meet the anticipated unserved eligible students. Unless the Bureau has some major hiring plan that will be implemented over the next year, we are fearful that the Bureau’s limited staffing and infrastructure will not be able to handle the wave of new program contractors that we see building now that the opportunity to bring JOM services to reality.  

NJOMA is deeply disappointed that the Bureau is forging ahead with JOM Modernization activities and failing to better inform or engage the very program participants who are most knowledgeable about the activities of the contracting parties as of the date of enactment of the JOM Modernization Act. We respect and understand that the Bureau is required to undertake and complete this rulemaking process pursuant to the provisions of subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code. These ‘guidelines’ do however encourage agencies to use processes that could enhance the rulemaking process-informally. Nothing in the subchapter limits innovation and experimentation with the rulemaking process and allows for the use of  innovative rulemaking procedures.  

We would urge the Director of the Bureau of Indian Education to quickly convene the JOM Modernization Working Group without further delay.
Comments on this Proposed Rule are due August 26, 2019. See Federal Register/Vol. 84, No. 124/ Thursday, June 2019/ Proposed Rules/Pages 30647-30666. Download a PDF copy of the Proposed Rule at the following link:

May 24, 2019 -- House Appropriations Committee proposes a major increase in Johnson-O'Malley Funding -- The House Appropriations Committee Interior Subcommittee has approved its funding bill for FY 2020 that will provide a major increase of $29.5 million in funding for the Johnson-O'Malley Program (JOM) for the 2019/2020 school year.

In the first year of funding since passage of the 2018 Johnson-O'Malley Supplemental Education Act, the Committee has proposed a $29.5 million overall increase spending FY 2020 (see Chart 1).  The Committee's $44.4 million funding level takes the base funding for JOM from $14.9 million provided in FY 2019 to $44.4 million for FY 2020.  The Committee also acknowledged, within the FY 2020 increase, NJOMA's request for "one-time funding for capacity building activities, such as performing planning activities and providing technical assistance and training based on the new law."

The FY 2020 funding increase also provides funding "to more tribes in order to assist more students" (see Chart 2).

Chart 1

Chart 2

  • Johnson-O'Malley -- The Committee recommends $44,403,000 for Johnson-O'Malley, $44,403,000 above the enacted level.  The Committee supports the recent enactment of the Johnson-O'Malley Supplemental Education Modernization Act (P.L. 115-404).  Within the funds provided for Johnson-O'Malley, the Committee expects BIE to allocate $2,500,000 in one-time funding for capacity building activities, such as performing planning activities and providing technical assistance and training based on the new law.  Withe remaining increased funds, the Committee directs BIE to provide funding to more tribes in order to assist more students.

"NJOMA President Carla Mann applauded the efforts and support of Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chairwoman, and the Members of the House Interior Subcommittee for their quick action in boosting the funding for JOM in the first year of the new JOM..  The Subcommittee and full Committee's FY 2020 funding increase sends a strong message to everyone that the JOM program, and its support for educational activities for Native children using a culturally focused, academically based curriculum that speaks to what and how our children need to learn to prosper in the 21st century's global economy."  ​

December 31, 2018 -- President Donald Trump signed S. 943, the Johnson-O'Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act into Public Law No: 115-404!

The bill requires the Department of the Interior to annually update the count of Indian students eligible for the Johnson-O'Malley Program (JOM Program).  The JOM Program awards contracts to tribal organizations, schools, states, and others to support the cultural and academic needs of Indian students.  The contract amounts are based on the number of students served.

Contracting parties must annually report to Interior on the number of students they serve.  If they fail to submit the report, then Interior may not give them program funds for the next fiscal year.

The bill sets forth a process to revise funding allocations provided under the program.

Interior must consult with Indian tribes and state and local education agencies that have not participated in the program to determine their interest in entering into contracts.

The Bureau of Indian Education must determine how: (1) the regulatory definition of eligible students may be clarified for contracting parties, and (2) the program funding formula may be updated to ensure the full participation of contracting parties and provide clarity on the funding process.

December 11, 2018 -- Statement of Carla Mann, NJOMA Board President, on the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of

S. 943, the Johnson-O'Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act

The National Johnson-O’Malley Association (NJOMA) is extremely pleased to announce the U.S. House of Representatives has joined the U.S. Senate in voting to approve the Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Modernization Act (S. 943). Passage of this legislation moves us one step closer to finally addressing the numerous concerns about the persistent inaccuracy of the eligible student counts for the Johnson-O’Malley (JOM) Program, and positions us to now effectively update the 22-year-old student count of 271,884 Indian children to a number that is more representative of the over 1.2-1.4  million children who we believe are eligible for enrollment across the country.

We are especially thankful for the support and sponsorship of our key federal legislative objective in the House of Representatives from Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Don Young (R-AS) and Jared Huffman (D-CA). We also want to extend special thanks to Representatives Ron Estes (R-KS), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Robert Scott (D-VA) for driving our bill through the House Education and Workforce Committee and the House.

 Since 1934, JOM has provided funding for supplemental educational programming for American Indian and Alaskan Native students in public schools across America. The money appropriated by Congress has provided school supplies, cultural activities and other enrichment for Native students through tribal organizations, school districts, and other partner organizations in public schools – where more than 90 percent of Native students attend school.

 It should also be noted that there have been no formal changes to the rules and regulations governing the operation of JOM since the 1970s, nor have there been any substantive change to the ancestral or tribal membership criterion used since 1986 to determine student eligibility for JOM. NJOMA is especially pleased that the Modernization Act will:

  1. Enable NJOMA and other JOM stakeholders to work with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) in modernizing the program’s existing rules and regulations to provide improved guidance to JOM contractors and enhanced educational experiences for our students.
  2. End the denial of JOM services to thousands of Indian and Alaskan Native students whose schools and school districts have been unable to join the program since 1996.
  3. Continue the time-honored recognition of tribal sovereignty and self-determination of tribal membership, and the respect of federal treaty rights.
  4. Allow for an in-depth study and assessment of the true costs and economics of providing 21st century quality services and academic activities for Indian and Alaskan Native children that will prepare our students for participation in the global economy.    

November 2, 2018 -- Update provided by Steve Pruitt, Watts Partners

The JOM bill is currently pending before the House Education and Workforce Committee and is one of several bills related to Native educational concerns that the Committee is expected to approve for inclusion in a  package of measures that it will ask House Leadership to move forward in upcoming Lame Duck session of the Congress. A final decision on which bills will be part of the Committee's Lame Duck package is expected the second week of November,  following the November 6 Congressional elections. JOM has been in contact with our House Sponsors urging them to collectively speak to the House Committee's Republican and Democratic leaders to urge that the J0M bill be voted on during the Lame Duck. A special appeal was also made to attendees at the recently held NIEA Annual meeting asking those in attendance to also contact their local Members of Congress on behalf of moving the JOM bill.

August 13, 2018 -- JOM CALL TO ACTION - Pass the JOM Modernization Act NOW!

On March 22, 2018 the US Senate passed S. 943, the Johnson O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act by Voice Vote.  The bill was then referred to the US House of Representatives and the Committee on Education and the Workforce.  Since that move, it is our understanding that the bill has been reviewed for compliance with House rules and is undergoing preparation for possible consideration in the Full House on the weekly Suspensions Calendar.  To show solid support in the House for JOM, the historic sponsors of our bill in the House (Reps. Tom Cole, Betty McCollum, Don Young, Jared Huffman and Raul Grijalva) introduced an identical language version of the Senate passed bill (H.R. 6185) which was also referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

NJOMA urged the Committee and Congressional Leadership to move S. 943 (as approved by the Senate) to a vote of the full House prior to the current August Congressional recess.  Unfortunately, due to the press of other legislative business, the JOM bill did not make to the list of “must do” legislative items acted on in the House before they left the Capitol.  Congress is scheduled to return to Washington on September 4 and is scheduled to meet 11 days for legislative business before taking their leave in early October for the November 6 Congressional elections.  Enacting S. 943 before Congress adjourns for the elections is critical to the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and JOM communities the ability to have the necessary infrastructure in place to complete a new “eligible student count”.  S. 943 requires BIE and a “Stakeholders Working Group” to complete several tasks related to updating JOM’s Regulations to facilitate the student count-tribal enrollment reconciliation and new contractor engagement processes required in the bill.  NJOMA also needs time during the school-year to conduct a series of needed training sessions for existing and potential new JOM contractors on how to operate the program under the new JOM program’s activity metrics.  Pushing S. 943 to after the November 6 elections will result in JOM experiencing a 22nd year without a true count of the eligible students, and delay efforts to implement expanded activities for all eligible students.

Needed Actions by JOM Programs
Each JOM program is asked to make telephone calls to offices of Representatives to Congress starting August 27 to urge the Members to voice their support of S. 943 to members of the House Leadership and Representative Virginia Foxx, R-NC (Chair) and Robert “Bobby” Scott, D-VA (Ranking Member) of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Members of the House Education and Workforce Committee and your local Member of Congress.   

Telephone Message
My name is __________.
I am a Member of the _________ Tribe/Nation and a participant in the Johnson O’Malley program.
I am calling today to urge Representative _______ to support passage of S. 943, the Johnson O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act by the House of Representatives before they break for the November 6th elections.
I want to urge Representative _________ to:

Write to House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Foxx and Ranking Member Scott expressing their support for passage of S. 943 from the House Suspensions Calendar.
Issue a Press Release and “post” the release and letter on your website so I and others can see their support for moving the bill.
Vote YES on the bill when it is presented to the House of Representatives.

I want to Thank Representative ______ in advance for their support of the Johnson O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act.

Key Contacts [Call All Representatives]
Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC)  202-225-2071
Representative Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) 202-225-8351
Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 202-225- 2915
Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) 202-225-4131

[Pick Three to Call]
Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) 202-225-5672
Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) 202-225-6276
Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN) 202-225-5037
Representative Glenn Grothman (R-WI) 202-225-2476
Representative Jason Lewis (R-MN) 202-225-2271
Representative Drew Ferguson (R-GA) 202-225-5901
Representative Tom Garrett, Jr. (R-VA) 202-225-4711
Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) 202-225-2161
Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) 202-225-7032
Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) 202-225-0855
Representative Susan A. Davis (D-CA) 202-225-2040
Representative Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL) 202-225-4506
Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) 202-225-2305
Representative Alma S. Adams (D-NC) 202-225-1510
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) 202-225-4165
Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) 202-225-5456

How to Find Your Local Representative
Go to: https://www.house.gov/representatives
See FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE (upper right-hand side of website)

On October 5, 2017, Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs announced the committee's passage of S. 943, the Johnson-O'Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act.  

Bureau of Indian Education Contacts

Legislative Developments

Current Updates:

As presented by Steve Pruitt, Managing Partner of Watts Partners during the 2019 National Johnson-O'Malley Association's annual conference in Las Vegas, NV on March 4, 2019

Region - Alaska

Program Specialist - Angela Barnett - angela.barnett@bie.edu

Cell - 703.817.5879

Regions - Midwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountain, Northwest

Program Specialist - Carmen VanderVenter - carmenr.vanderventer@bie.edu

Cell - 703.581.2284

Regions - Navajo, Western Pacific

Program Specialist - Kemberlee Beckwith - kemberlee.beckwith@bie.edu

Cell - 703.581.2892

Regions - Eastern, Eastern Oklahoma, Southern Plains, Southwest

Program Specialist - ​Kelly Moore - kelly.moore@bie.edu

​Cell - 703.581.2294

​​Are you interested in establishing a NEW JOM Program?

NJOMA is gathering information concerning potentially NEW JOM programs.  In the coming months, there will be more information published about how the JOM Modernization Act can benefit your Tribe and/or organization.  The latest updates will be presented at our 2020 NJOMA Conference in Washington D.C.  Click on the "Conference" tab above to get the dates and registration information.  In the meantime, please submit the "Leave a Message" information located in the "Contact" tab above.

February 25, 2020


Federal Register - Vol. 85, No. 37 - Rules and Regulations

Bureau of Indian Affairs

25 CFR Part 273

Education Contracts Under Johnson-O'Malley Act

Agency: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior

Action: Final Rule 

NJOMA is requesting that All Federally Recognized Tribes respond with Tribal Student Count Information ~ 

Please complete the  "Tribal Student Count information" form for all current and potentially new JOM programs funded by your Tribes.  This information will assist NJOMA and you in validating the number of Indian students eligible for JOM funding.

The ‘‘Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act,’’ P.L. 115-404, Section 7 [COMPUTATION OF STUDENT COUNT], Subsection (b) [DETERMINATION OF THE NUMBER OF ELIGIBLE INDIAN STUDENTS], part 1-B-2 [DATA RECONCILIATION] provides:

Please return this form to NJOMA (njoma1994@gmail.com or

FAX 918-984-9851).
Thank you for your assistance!
National Johnson - O'Malley Association Board

Spike Bighorn

Supervisory Program Manager

Office of Sovereignty in Indian Education

Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)

200 NW 4th Street, Suite 4049

Oklahoma City, OK 73102



Understanding the JOM​ Modernization Act