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Gov. Christie Fires Education Commissioner After "Race to Top" Bungle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, listens as Education Commissioner Bret Schundler answers a question Thursday, July 15, 2010, while they stand in a classroom at E. Raymond Appleby Elementary School in Spotswood, N.J. Christie has proposed a cap on school superintendents' salaries to help control costs. The cap would result in salary reductions for 366 school superintendents when their current contracts expire.

    Somebody had to take the fall.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has fired Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, officials said today. The dismissal comes in the wake of a embarrassing mistake that may have cost the state $400 million in federal Race to the Top money.

    A deputy will be named acting commissioner as Christie begins to look for the next person to take the $141,000-a-year job, officials told the Star Ledger.

    The U.S. Education Department on Thursday released a videotape that appeared to contradict Christie's claim that federal officials refused to allow New Jersey to fix a mistake on its application.

    In a statement, Christie said he was extremely disappointed the tape was not consistent with information provided by Schundler's department.

    Sources told the Star Ledger that Christie said "He can't lie to me," then asked his chief of staff, Rich Bagger, to ask Schundler for his resignation.

    Earlier this week, Christie blasted federal education officials for rejecting Jersey's application over a clerical error.

    Schundler, a former Jersey City mayor and gubernatorial candidate, is an outspoken proponent of educational reform.