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For Immediate Release: July 24, 2004
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES PASSAGE OF EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM
Would increase Avon Funding by $80,426

School districts in Massachusetts would gain valuable additional education assistance under a plan passed this week by the Senate.

The legislation seeks to address current inequities in the state’s education funding formula and will mean thousands of extra dollars for communities across the state.

“Many towns have suffered for some time under a formula that has shortchanged their school districts,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce. “This plan seeks to iron out these inequities and deliver additional assistance to school district across the Commonwealth who are in dire need of added financial resources.”

Specifically, the proposed formula change will mean an additional $80,426 for Avon in FY06, with further increases each year for the following six years totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Under the bill, Chapter 70 education aid will increase by $150 to $175 million a year, while helping reduce disparities in aid to and local contributions required of similar communities and encouraging professional growth among teachers and administrators.

To cope with the rising costs of health care, special education, and other expenses while attracting and retaining good teachers, maintaining small class sizes and expanding opportunities for students, all districts would see aid grow by at least $50 per pupil.

The legislation has been sent to the House of Representatives for action.

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For Immediate Release: July 12, 2004
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

EDUCATION REMAINS A TOP PRIORITY FOR SENATOR JOYCE LEGISLATURE PLANS LEVEL FUNDING FOR LOCAL AID, FUNDING INCREASES FOR TRANSPORTATION AND SPECIAL EDUCATION
“With this budget we are preserving our investment in our students and schools,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce this week, announcing that a Senate and House budget resolution for the next fiscal year will be boosted by $75 million for local aid, to more than $3.1 billion.

The Legislature’s plan also commits to an $80 million increase in Special Education Circuit Breaker funding – reimbursing communities approximately 65 percent compared to last year’s 35 percent reimbursement rate, and the plan increases Regional School Transportation by $11.6 million over last year’s funding level.

“We are at risk of having our economic downturn back the progress we’ve made in our schools but the Legislature has made the choice to preserve and reinforce our commitment to classrooms,” said Senator Joyce. Senator Joyce noted that the proposed figures for education will preserve funding for Avon at $570,215 in FY05.

Senator Joyce expects that education will continue to be a top priority in the FY05 budget and reiterated his commitment to “investing in our schools so that the progress we have made in improving public education can be maintained and ensure our students of a bright future while at the same time continue our efforts to keep pressure off local property taxpayers.”

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For Immediate Release: June 24, 2004
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

AVON FIRE DEPARTMENT TO RECEIVE GRANT
The Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Senator Brian A. Joyce, and Representative William C. Galvin are pleased to announce that the Town of Avon Fire Department will receive a grant of $2,000 under the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program (VFA), which is funded by the Cooperative Forestry Program (CFP) and the National Fire Plan (NFP).

The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of State Parks and Recreation/Bureau of Forest Fire Control promotes wildland fire protection and training for cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. Many communities have call and volunteer departments, who rely on outside sources of funding to provide for the necessary equipment that they cannot afford through the normal budgetary process.

Volunteer Fire Association Program funds are made available to Department of Conservation and Recreation through the USDA Forest Service to assist call or volunteer fire departments that provide service primarily to a community with a population of 10,000 or less. Funding is available on a 50% reimbursement basis. Cooperative Forestry Program funding supports projects related to firefighter safety, technology transfer and rural fire defense. National Fire Plan funding provides assistance to (1) high risk communities adjacent to federal lands, (2) those communities working in partnership with federal firefighting agencies in responding to wildland fires, or (3) high risk communities, not associated with federal lands.

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For Immediate Release: May 26, 2004
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

JOYCE/IKEA ANNOUNCE CONSTRUCTION/HIRING AGREEMENT
Plan will benefit Stoughton and Avon residentsSenator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the home furnishing store IKEA has agreed to use local construction labor and give hiring preference for store employment to local residents in their proposed Stoughton store.

The agreement ensures that Stoughton and Avon resident are guaranteed first access to the 400-500 full and part-time job opportunities at the store which is scheduled to open summer of 2005.

As part of the agreement, IKEA will publicize local hiring dates and job fairs to Stoughton and Avon residents through local papers and community groups. Additionally, several weeks prior to their hiring period, IKEA will hold job fairs in the Stoughton-Avon area at which human resources representatives will be present to provide information about job opportunities and assist residents in the application process.

After lengthy discussions, Senator Joyce was also successful in working with IKEA to ensure that the company will utilize local residents for the construction work associated with building the new store.

“This commitment marks a great opportunity for the local workers,” stated Senator Joyce, “at a time when the Massachusetts economy is just beginning to recover. The building and opening of an IKEA store will be an economic boon to the Stoughton-Avon region, providing much needed jobs and taxes to the local communities.”

Ikea offers progressive workplace benefits for employees such as medical and dental coverage, paid maternity and paternity leave, paid time off for child adoption, elder care resources, tuition assistance, and a 401(k) matching plan.

“While some traffic concerns still need to be addressed, I believe the company’s decision to use local labor, and to give hiring preference to local residents, represents a win-win for the communities of Stoughton and Avon,” said Senator Joyce.

It is estimated that the IKEA store will mean an additional $1 million in tax revenue for the Town of Stoughton.

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For Immediate Release: May 3, 2004
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

AVON’S RECYCLING EFFORTS AWARDED GRANT
Senator Brian A. Joyce and Representative William Galvin are pleased to announce that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded the Town of Avon with a Municipal Recycling Grant to help fund their recycling efforts.

The Municipal Recycling Grant provides towns across the Commonwealth with resources for recycling equipment, household hazardous waste equipment, educational materials, and technical assistance. The Town of Avon will be receiving 500 curbside recycling bin stickers and 50 kitchen scrap buckets.

This grant will play a critical role in making both Avon and Massachusetts a recycling community and Commonwealth that promotes consumer awareness of recycling, composting and hazardous waste collection programs.# # #

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2004
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

EDUCATION REMAINS A TOP PRIORITY FOR SENATOR JOYCE LEGISLATURE PLANS LEVEL FUNDING FOR LOCAL AID, FUNDING INCREASES FOR TRANSPORTATION AND SPECIAL EDUCATION
“With this budget we are preserving our investment in our students and schools,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce this week, announcing that a Senate and House budget resolution for the next fiscal year will be boosted by $75 million for local aid, to more than $3.1 billion.

The Legislature’s plan also commits to an $80 million increase in Special Education Circuit Breaker funding – reimbursing communities approximately 65 percent compared to last year’s 35 percent reimbursement rate, and the plan increases Regional School Transportation by $11.6 million over last year’s funding level.

“We are at risk of having our economic downturn back the progress we’ve made in our schools but the Legislature has made the choice to preserve and reinforce our commitment to classrooms,” said Senator Joyce.

Senator Joyce noted that the proposed figures for education will preserve funding for Avon at $570,215 in FY05.


Senator Joyce expects that education will continue to be a top priority in the FY05 budget and reiterated his commitment to “investing in our schools so that the progress we have made in improving public education can be maintained and ensure our students of a bright future while at the same time continue our efforts to keep pressure off local property taxpayers.”

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For Immediate Release: December 6, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

IMMEDIATE OPENINGS FOR SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE POSITIONS IN AVON
Senator Brian A. Joyce announces that positions are available in a training program for seniors interested in earning a supplemental income while developing job skills and participating in community service.

The Senior AIDES (Able Industrious Dedicated Energetic Service) Program, administered by Old Colony Elderly Services, is a federally funded program that places seniors in positions such as teachers aides, office workers, computer operators, child and adult care workers and custodians.

The program is designed to promote independence, self-assurance and revitalize job skills so seniors can transition back to unsubsidized employment. To be eligible, applicants mush be 55 years or older, meet income guidelines, live in a service area and have the long-term goal of integrating into the workplace.

If interested, contact the Senior AIDES Coordinator at (508) 584-1561 or 1-800-242-0246.

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For Immediate Release: October 31, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

'COMMUNITY' CHOICE’ PILOT PROGRAM LAUNCHED
Enhanced home care option now available to seniors

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the state has launched a $3.9 million pilot program which will allow seniors to choose community based services over institutionalized care.

The Community Choices pilot program, modeled after Senator Joyce’s Equal Choice bill, was secured by the senator in the state budget and is designed to remedy the gross disparity in Medicaid aid between individuals who choose to receive care at home, and those who seek care in an institution.

“The current structure of Medicaid reimbursement leaves many seniors with no real choice other than institutionalization. It is small wonder, then, that more than 80 percent of our long-term care spending goes towards institutionalized care.

“The reality is that this pilot program is not only the fiscally responsible thing to do, but it also provides a fair and compassionate solution to those who find themselves no longer able to care for themselves,” said Senator Joyce.

Under the program, integrated health care services are provided at home to persons whose health care costs would be at least 50 percent below the cost of care they would otherwise receive in an institution under the state’s Medicaid long-term care waiver. Institutional care is far more costly than care provided at home. Medicaid currently pays $51,516 per person for nursing home care.

“This program will guarantee that seniors will receive care in the least restrictive setting. It ends discrimination against persons with disabilities by providing home care as an alternative to institutional care,” said Al Norman, executive director of Mass Home Care.

The program will be available to eligible seniors beginning November 1, 2002. For more information, please call your local Aging Service Access Point who can review your case for eligibility and provide you with the services that best meet your needs. In Avon, East Bridgewater, Easton, Stoughton and West Bridgewater, please call Old Colony Elderly Services, Inc at 508-584-1561 or Old Colony Planning Council at 508-583-1833.

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