On August 26, State Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono submitted a request to then-Commissioner Bret Schundler – for “all documents prepared, received, maintained, controlled or otherwise possessed by you, your employees or any independent contractors employed by the New Jersey Department of Education related to, discussing or describing New Jersey’s 2010 application to the U.S. Department of Education for The Race to the Top Funding.” The state’s deadline for responding under law was close-of-business yesterday.
At 4:27 p.m. yesterday, Buono received a two-sentence e-mail from the Department asking for an extension until Sept 16 to fulfill the request.
“However reluctantly, I will allow the Department the extra time it asked for, although it is hard to believe that all the information regarding Race to the Top has not already been collected and corralled and made easily retrievable,” says Buono. “The recent turmoil at the Department aside, it’s not as if we’re asking for years of records. But we will give them this narrow period of time to produce everything that can facilitate a full airing of the issues surrounding the state’s application.”
Buono says the information is intended to be part of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee’s Sept 23 hearing to determine the cause of a flubbed response to a question that cost the state 10th-place in the competition and $400 million in federal education aid. The committee will review the materials and work to ensure that, going forward, similar applications are handled with proper and adequate oversight before being submitted.
The information sought under the request is due close-of-business Thursday, Sept 16.