EDISON - Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) has fired New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler amid the 'Race to the Top' gaffe.
The U.S. Department of Education released a video yesterday that appeared to contradict the commissioner's account of what happened when New Jersey education officials met with the federal panel to audit the funding application and undergo a review process.
Last night, Christie ordered Schundler to turn in his resignation. Schundler refused to resign by this morning, so Christie ordered his termination.
"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," said Christie. "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."
The move comes in the wake of the controversy and heavy criticism over the state's loss of up to $400 million in federal school funding due to an apparent clerical error on the "Race to the Top" application.
According to the Star Ledger, Schundler defended himself during an interview at his Jersey City home late Friday afternoon. He told reporters that he had never given 2008-09 numbers to the panel reviewing the state's application. He backed up his claim by showing reporters e-mails to the governor's office on Tuesday. He also said that he told the governor that he had not given the panel the numbers before Christie's press conference on Wednesday.
The governor's office released a statement that said "We regret that Mr. Schundler continues to sully his own image by engaging in revisionist history?.Mr. Schundler was the Administration's only source for what occurred in the 'Race to The Top' presentation. All of the governor's statements were based on Mr. Schundler's account."
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