Voice of the People: Christie’s $400 million mistake

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by James J. Devine

Why are no Democrats calling for an impeachment after New Jersey lost $400 million in “Race to the Top” funding for public education because Gov. Christie Todd Christie failed to follow instructions on the application?

The application asked for budget information comparing the 2008 and 2009 school years but instead, the Christie administration submitted information comparing the current year to 2011.

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That error cost New Jersey 4.8 points on the grant evaluation leaving the Garden State with a score of 437.8, just three points behind Ohio.

Had the application been properly completed, New Jersey’s score of 442.6 would have jumped ahead of two states, placing New Jersey in front of North Carolina and $400 million richer.

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) lambasted “Gov. Christie’s misguided decision to hijack the grant application process for his own political purposes.”

“It’s astonishing that the administration’s failure to proofread their own homework would lead to losing out on this funding that could have gone such a long way toward improving our educational system,” said Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

Everyone recognizes this was a bad thing… but not necessarily how bad and how incompetent.

Christie’s administration hastily rewrote the application over the Memorial Day weekend, after the governor rejected compromises made by Education Commissioner Bret Schundler to win NJEA support.

Consequently, they changed the response comparing the 2008 and 2009 budgets and inserted the wrong information.

Christie’s $400 million mistake left New Jersey out of “Race to the Top” funding for public education.

If such incompetence is not rewarded with immediate impeachment proceedings, then Democratic lawmakers will be cheating taxpayers and again dodging their responsibility.

The tough-talking former prosecutor came into office on a promise to do things right. Instead, he blundered. Democrats should hold him to account for it.

If anyone else had pulled such a boneheaded move, Christie would have fired him.  That leaves only one option, but who is going to show him the door?


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