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Buono: ‘Unconscionable’ Mistakes Led To Failed Race To The Top Application

Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, speaks with reporters regarding Governor Chris Christie's address introducing more than $2 billion in mid-year budget solutions.

TRENTON — After today’s Senate Legislative Oversight Committee hearing into the mistakes that were made leading up to the state’s losing out in the federal Race to the Top grant sweepstakes, Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) released the following statement:

“With former Commissioner Schundler finally able to speak freely, we have been able to hear the exhaustive point-by-point details as to what went wrong for the first time. And the answer seems to be plenty.

“It’s unconscionable that the Race to the Top application was rewritten more with an eye towards punishing the NJEA than it was towards rewarding our schools. It’s unconscionable that an application that meant so much was created and edited in a piecemeal fashion, and never once given the final thorough reading it deserved. It’s unconscionable that the decision to scrap a hard-won compromise that would have propelled our application was based on the criticisms of a radio talk-show host. And, it’s unconscionable that $400 million for our schools took a back seat to politics.

“Before Mr. Schundler spoke to the committee, he swore an oath and said he knew misleading our investigation would carry the penalty of perjury. Providing testimony under such conditions cannot be easy, especially when it deals with a topic that cost someone their job.

“It’s easy for the Governor to call Mr. Schundler’s testimony a lie at a press conference. But until anyone from the administration subjects themselves to the same rules Mr. Schundler did this morning, those are just more words from an administration that has tried in vain at every turn to subvert the Legislature’s investigatory power as a coequal branch of government.”