Committee will subpoena Schundler

The Legislative Oversight Committee has voted to subpoena former education chief Bret Schundler to testify as part of the commitee’s investigation of the state’s failed Race to the Top Application.

The committee will also subpoena the chief executive of Wireless Generation, the consultant that aided the state in preparing the application.

The vote follows approval by the senate granting the committee the power to issue subpoenas to aid in its investigation of the failed application, which caused the state to lose out on $400 million in federal education funding.

State Sen. Barbara Buono, (D-Metuchen) had sought subpoena power for the committee, saying it was important to get to the bottom of the application error. 

Schundler had declined to testify at an assembly hearing ealrier this month as had any representative of Wireless Generation. 

Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood Ridge) said after the committee meeting that the subpoenas were a necessary step.

“I believe its important that we get to the bottom of this,” Sarlo said. “The documents that were provided (by the administration) had some gaps and this is no chump change.  This is $400 million that could have helped schools across the state of New Jersey.”

Commitee member Sen. Joe Kyrillos, who opposed granting the committee the power to issue subpoenas, told Buono that the threat of a subpoena should be enough.

“Now that they have it, it would be clever and certainly more responsible to use the threat of a subpoena to get whatever information she is after,” he said.  “It is almost laughable that it is past 6:00 and there are five people in the room and we’re pushing these subpoenas out.”

Schundler has admitted the error that lead to the failure of the application – incorrect budget information – was his but said he does not remember changing the informaiton. 

Committee will subpoena Schundler