August 27th, 2010
01:51 PM ET
4 years ago

N.J. schools chief fired over $400 million mistake

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday fired the state’s education commissioner for a mistake that cost the state $400 million in federal education funding.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday fired the state’s education commissioner for a mistake that cost the state $400 million in federal education funding.

(CNN) – New Jersey's education commissioner, who was responsible for making a relatively simple mistake that cost the state $400 million in federal funding for public schools, has been fired, according to a statement made Friday by Gov. Chris Christie.

On its application for a federal grant from the "Race to the Top" fund, the Garden State lost more than four points for providing budgetary data for 2010 and 2011 rather than 2008 and 2009. Had the correct information been filed, the state would have scored higher on its review than Ohio–the tenth of 10 states to receive federal funding–and thus, it would have received a share of the $3.6 billion up for grabs.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education released a video of an August 11 meeting between federal officials and New Jersey education commissioner Bret Schundler. The tape is at odds with an earlier claim made by Christie that the state had provided federal officials with the correct budget information.

"I was extremely disappointed to learn that the videotape of the Race to the Top presentation was not consistent with the information provided to me by the New Jersey Department of Education and which I then conveyed to the people of New Jersey," Christie said Friday in a statement. "As a result, I ordered an end to Bret Schundler's service as New Jersey's Education Commissioner and as a member of my administration."

Schundler was previously the mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey and twice failed to secure the GOP nomination for governor in the state.


Filed under: Chris Christie • Education • issues • New Jersey
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. YY

    Let me get this right, a Republican fired someone for NOT getting federal dollars. I thought Republican's were against Federal spending? Particularly from the Dept. of Ed. which Republican's want to eliminate entirely. What DO republican's stand for these days.

    August 27, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Republicans - get that "free" money or get fired. Kinda like VA Governor touting a surplus with all his stimulus money falling from every pocket.

    Hypocrits

    August 27, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Zombie Jesus

    No big deal, it was a small mistake of $400 million, nothing compared to the trillion dollar search for WMd's in Iraq Republicans made.

    But Republicans have a habit of making money disappear. See Medicare Part D and Bush Tax Cuts effect on the deficit for examples.

    August 27, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. BlackBarbie

    As a resident of n.j. I am ashamed to have this whale as Governor, he's a bully, and went off on the Obama administration for no good reason, it's terrible for our children, but of course Christie's children won't be affected at all, he's a heart attack waiting to happen, and I'll be glad when he gets there.

    August 27, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Poor Jersey

    He should be on the show at the shore,not in public office.Guess the buck didnt stop with this GOP moron.

    August 27, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. petey

    That's the way it should be. You screw up. You pay the consequences. America is coming back to its senses.

    August 27, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Ellen

    This is so unfortunate for the school children of New Jersey. I hate to feel any iota of pleasure that my own children will benefit from the mistake, as we live in Ohio. My question would be...why couldn't all states benefit?

    August 27, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. db

    It doesn't seem like a lot, but $400 million here and $400 million there – it all adds up, and pretty soon you're talkin' about real money.

    August 27, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. gt

    american needs more govenors like christey... leadership that will act..

    August 27, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. NC

    I thought Christie did not want federal help.

    August 27, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. John

    There are questions to be answered by Gov. Christie. The forms and negotiations that Schundler did with the NJEA were supposedly complete before the Governor, over the weekend, changed some of the items. How come he did not correct the missing items or did he leave them out by accident? Or in his infinite wisdom, did he change the information that Schundler had provided and decided to leave the requirements out?
    Is Shundler being held as a "fall guy" for the Governors' mistakes?

    So Gov. Christie we need some answers before this thing goes away...

    August 27, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sounds like Christie is passing the buck and doesn't want to be held accountable for this "mistake." I bet New Jersians are saying to themselves, "we should have kept Corzine."

    August 27, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. ATL Guy

    This guy is an idiot. He was quick to blame the Obama folks for not awarding New Jersey the money yet the problems exist right in your state. These guys have no shame.

    August 27, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. greenfish

    The more Christie is examined, the worse it will be for him. This mistake alone is enough to get those of us living in NJ to scream. But the rest of the country should also know that Christie deep-sixed AT THE LAST MOMENT a compromise agreement between Schundler and the teacher's union that cost our application many more points than this admittedly bone-headed move. Compromise is the art of politics, except for bullies like Christie.

    I lived in NYC under Giuliani and now live in NJ under Christie. School yard bullies. Don't be fooled.

    August 27, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Jilli

    Hey doughboy – are you going to call the president and apologize for blaming his administration for YOUR error? Christie reacted like a spoiled child – it's not his fault he screwed up, it's the dept. of educations fault! What was your plan B Mr. Christie? Claiming the dog ate your application?

    Pathetic. Apologize.

    August 27, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. mike

    it looks like fat boy screwed up I wander how many teachers are going to lose there job over this mess maybe if he stop eating and gave the money away he spends on food that would help fill that large donut hole he just missed out on

    August 27, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Caleb

    Why does he want federal funding for anything anyway ? Is he not part of the idiots that want everything cut buy bailouts for the rich.

    August 27, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. malabar

    Obama should take notes. Christie is a decisive leader not afraid to take action. CHRIS CHRISTIE 2012, 2016

    August 27, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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