WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
NJ Governor Fires Education Commissioner Over Bungled Grant Application
Friday, August 27, 2010
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has fired his Education Commissioner, Bret Schundler, over how Schundler handled the state's failed application for $400 million in Federal Race to the Top education funds.
Schundler's discharge comes the same week that New Jersey learned it had lost the highly competitive grant competition, in part, because of a clerical error made by a mid-level staffer in the state education department. The federal application asked for state education expenditures for 2008 and 2009, but New Jersey's grant preparers inserted 2011 numbers instead.
On Wednesday, Christie stood by Schundler and took Washington bureaucrats to task for being inflexible. Christie maintaned that at a meeting with federal officials, Schundler had tried to offer the correct information, but it was not accepted.
But a videotape of New Jersey's Race to the Top presentation released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education shows Schundler and his staff fumbling for an answer about the omission. Chrsitie now concedes the video directly contradicts the account of the meeting Schundler had given him.