What a huge embarrassment for the Christie administration — the equivalent, as one Democrat put it, of losing the 200 “given” points on an SAT by failing to put your name at the top.
It turns out that the state lost $400 million in federal “Race to the Top” money because it provided the wrong budget information. The application asked for the 2008-2009 budget years; the administration supplied figures for the 2010-2011 budget years. The loss of nearly five points on the application was enough for Ohio to narrowly edge out New Jersey for the funding.
What a breathtakingly careless mistake. The administration should provide a full accounting of how it happened — which it’s failed to do so far.
The embarrassment is compounded by the fact that the application has been a huge point of contention between Christie and the New Jersey Education Association for months. The NJEA failed to support the first application because it contained proposals for merit pay and other reforms that are anathema to the union. Christie blamed the NJEA for losing those federal funds for the state.
In the second round, Education Commissioner Bret Schundler tried to win NJEA support by making major compromises in the plan. Christie refused to go along with the watered-down version, and the union withdrew its support. The lack of teacher support for the plan also hurt the state’s application.
The administration’s official line now is this: Yes, we’re disappointed, but let’s move forward and get these reforms in place anyway.
But first, guys, how about some accounting and accountability for this $400 million bungle?