1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com

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Reaction from Mayor Evelyn Sirrell, leader of the Coalition Communities,
to the announcement that Governor Benson has a new pledge to push
for a constitutional amendment:

May 27, 2004

"Governor Benson pledged almost two years ago to solve the education funding problem and get rid of Donor towns. And now we're supposed to believe this new pledge? Where's he been since then?

"I want the people of this State to know that this so-called pledge is being made just days after he personally lobbied for a bill that returns all of the Donor towns and targets money to the wealthiest communities in the state while taking it from the poorest. He allowed 4 legislators in a backroom to undo all of the progress that has been made on education funding and come up with a new formula without any public input at all. And the proposal takes away money for special education, for English as a second language, and for transportation.

"Here's my pledge: To let the people of this State know what kind of leadership we don't have in that corner office. He doesn't care about education. He doesn't care about schoolchildren. He doesn't care about fairness. And Governor, if you want this bill to become law and won't veto it even though it violates every principle you ran on, be man enough to sign it."

"The Governor keeps saying he supports a five-year plan. The Coalition Communities handed him that plan and a proposed constitutional amendment on a silver platter and what did he do with it? Not only did he ignore it, he helped push through the worst education funding plan this state has ever seen. I hope he'll change his mind and work with the Legislature to implement our foundation aid plan next year."

Editors: If you would like copies of the picture of the "Eliminate Donor Towns" banner hung in Market Square by the Benson campaign in 2002 or the videotape of the June 13, 2002, Coalition Communities gubernatorial debate where Benson pledged to eliminate donor towns, please contact the Coalition at the numbers above.


 1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com