Friday, August 27, 2010

Gov. Christie Fires Education Boss Bret Schundler: UPDATE: Schundler Requested Firing To Get Unemployment Benefits?

I can't say I'm surprised by this. Bret Schundler, the state education commissioner, was fired by Gov. Christie in the wake of the failure by the state to win Race to the Top grant money from the federal government.
A deputy commissioner will be named acting commissioner while the governor searches for the next person to fill the $141,000-a-year position, the officials said.

Rich Bagger, Christie's chief of staff, asked Schundler to resign on Thursday evening because he "misled" the governor and senior staff about what happened during a presentation in Washington, D.C., the officials said.

On Wednesday, Christie publicly said Schundler had tried to give the correct information to a bungled question during the presentation, but video from the U.S. Department of Education released Thursday proved that did not happen.
The state's application included incorrect data based on wrong year information, and Schundler takes the fall.

Schundler, who had previously run for governor and failed, apparently claimed that he would resign if asked, but then resisted when the governor indicated as much.

The application clearly wasn't strong enough in other areas to overcome the botched question, and that fault rests with the Education Department and the union, which helped put together the application.

Instead, the state will have to come up with fixes for its awful education funding system and failure to educate students without the federal funds.

Rather than resigning, Schundler appears to have asked to be fired so that he could collect unemployment.
Ousted state Education Commissioner Bret Schundler today said he asked Gov. Chris Christie to be fired from the work he considered his “life’s dream,” rather than resign, so he could receive unemployment benefits to pay his bills.

“I asked if they would mind writing a termination letter, instead of a resignation letter, because I do have a mortgage to pay, and I do have a daughter who’s just started college,” he said in an interview this morning. “And I, frankly, will need the unemployment insurance benefits until I find another job. ... And they said fine. They said sure.”

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