A New Jersey newspaper is suggesting that a careless error on that state’s Race to the Top application cost it the 10th place ranking that would have won the Garden State $400 million. New Jersey ranked 11th, narrowing missing being among the 10 winners to receive the coveted grants yesterday.
The 10th place winner, Ohio, scored 440.8 in the competition, in which awards went to those states scoring 44o or higher. New Jersey scored 437.8. But an incorrect budget document docked New Jersey 4.8 points. Without that error, New Jersey would have scored 442.6, putting it ahead of not only 10th place Ohio but ninth place North Carolina, which scored 441.6.
Of course, it may well be that careless mistakes marred all the applications and all states lost points here and there from minor errors, but the Star-Ledger is citing this blooper as a critical deal breaker for the state.
After making a high-profile bid for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education reform money, New Jersey fell three points short of receiving “Race to the Top” funding, in part because of an error by the Christie administration in the state’s application, records obtained by The Star-Ledger show.
One five-point question on the application asked for budget information comparing the 2008 and 2009 school years. However, the state submitted information comparing the current year to 2011.
That mistake cost the state 4.8 points. The state lost points in other areas as well, the records show.
In the end, New Jersey received 437.8 out of a possible 500 points, placing it 11th in the competition, just behind Ohio, which received $400 million and was the last state to receive funding. The winners of the $4.35 billion competition were announced today in Washington, D.C.
“New Jersey did not supply the 2008-2009 data as required and therefore forfeits the points,” said the report from one of the federal reviewers scoring the competition.
According to the program’s rules, there is no appeal process.