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Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) released the following statement today at the conclusion of the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s hearing into the Christie administration’s $400 million Race to the Top mistake:

“Today’s hearing was a start, but nothing more.

“The testimony by education officials left too many unanswered questions about how this mistake was made, including what role the high-paid consultant played, what was the value of a team member who noticed the mistake but didn’t tell anyone and how a non-state employee was able to play such a large role in the application’s development.

“Most importantly, we still have no clear idea how the wrong answer ended up in the application. I was very disappointed, to say the least, that so many top state education officials were repeatedly unable to answer that key question. The only theme that emerged today was ‘I don’t know,’ which was the continuously repeated response by all the top education officials involved in the application process.

“The people of New Jersey deserve better and continue to demand answers as to what truly happened with this $400 million mistake. Until we find that out, neither the Assembly nor taxpayers will be satisfied.

“The Assembly will continue to delve into this matter and we will announce our next step shortly.”