TUSCARORA NATION (WIVB) – Today the toilets are working at the Tuscarora Indian School, but that’s not always the case.

“This morning we had an odor down here at this end of our school building. We have a septic system located outside with frequent backups and issues with our plumbing,” said fifth-grade teacher Paul Beatty. “In fact, at lunchtime, if you go to use the teachers’ restroom here, the toilets don’t even flush, because they’re using the water here in the kitchen and it’s not enough water pressure.”

Along with water and sewer problems, there are broken windows in the gym, bricks are coming loose from the exterior of the building and walls are leaking and rotting.

The Tuscarora Indian School is a part of the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District, but the school is located on the Tuscarora Nation, and New York State is responsible for repairs. Every year, the principal makes a list of the repairs and gives the list to the state. But the district says every year that list is barely touched.

“New York State has not funded the repairs that have been needed at this school for a long time now,” said Daniel Ljailjanich, district superintendent of the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District. “And each year, those repairs get moved back.”

Ljailjanich said the repairs total to around $11.7 million. He also said there is money in the state’s budget for the repairs. He hopes the budget passes so that the repairs can be made.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.