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SENATOR JOYCE TO HOLD EASTON OFFICE HOURS
ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES PASSAGE OF EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM Would increase Easton Funding by $78,568

EDUCATION REMAINS A TOP PRIORITY FOR SENATOR JOYCE
LEGISLATURE PLANS LEVEL FUNDING FOR LOCAL AID, FUNDING INCREASES FOR TRANSPORTATION AND SPECIAL EDUCATION


CULTURAL GRANTS AWARDED IN EASTON

IMMEDIATE OPENINGS FOR SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE POSITIONS IN EASTON

A Closer Look at the Easton School Building Project

Dear Concerned Easton Parents and Taxpayers

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

SENATOR JOYCE TO HOLD EASTON OFFICE HOURS
ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that he will hold office hours in Easton on Friday, October 1st from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Easton Town Hall.

“I encourage all interested constituents to attend my district office hours,” said Senator Joyce. “This is an opportunity for me to listen to the concerns of the people of Easton, and hopefully provide some guidance and solutions.”

Easton Town Hall is located at 136 Elm Street. As always, individuals with questions or concerns are encouraged to call Senator Joyce’s State House office at (617) 722-1643, or his home at (617) 696-0200 day or night. The Senator can also be reached by email at [email protected]

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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 Easton Funding by $78,568
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 $78,568 for Easton 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: 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 mean a slight increase in funding for Easton, to $7,481,507 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: January 24, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

CULTURAL GRANTS AWARDED IN EASTON
Senators Brian A. Joyce and Robert S. Creedon, Representatives Christine Canavan, Geraldine Creedon, David Flynn and the Easton Cultural Council have announced that 17 grants, totaling $6,172 have been awarded to cultural programs in the Town of Easton The grants were awarded from a pool of funds distributed by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency that supports public programs and educational activities in the arts, sciences and humanities.

Grant recipients include the Dancing Ground, Moreau Hall Elementary School, Easton Junior High School, the Southeastern Massachusetts Arts Collaborative and Stonehill College.

The Easton Cultural Council is part of a grass-roots network of 335 local councils that serve every city and town in the state. The program is the largest decentralized program of its kind in the United States. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which then allocates funds to each local council. Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers.

Close to $2 million will be distributed by local cultural councils across the Commonwealth in 2003. Grants support an enormous range of grass-roots activities: concerts, exhibitions, radio and video productions, field trips for schoolchildren, after-school youth programs, writing workshops, historical preservation efforts, lectures, First Night celebrations, nature and science education programs for families and town festivals. Over 40 percent of the grants are awarded to educational activities for schoolchildren.

The Easton Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall. Information and forms are available at both libraries and at the Easton Town Office. The next deadline is October 15, 2003.

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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 EASTON
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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10/23/02
A Closer Look at the Easton School Building Project
By: Senator Brian A. Joyce

At the request of several residents, I am writing to address some of the current concerns regarding Easton’s proposed school building project and the upcoming December 10th town election to approve the project. Given the current fiscal climate, I understand the caution exhibited by parents and school officials as well as property taxpayers; I hope to allay any concerns with respect to reimbursement and the state’s commitment to funding first-rate public school facilities for the children of our Commonwealth.

Since its inception in 1948, the School Building Assistance program has never reneged on its commitment to reimburse municipalities for approved school building costs. Although the recent and projected state budget shortfalls affect all aspects of state spending, my colleagues and I are committed to minimizing the impact on education budget items, including school building assistance. The question is not if a community will receive reimbursement, but when.

There are over 250 schools currently on the School Building Project reimbursement list in almost 150 municipalities across the state – including five in my senate district. While the number of projects authorized has been limited over the past two years due to the state’s economic slowdown, please be assured that the annual number of authorized projects will increase as the economy improves, and Easton’s project, if approved by the voters, will move closer to the top of the list.

In the Fiscal Year 2003 budget, short-term borrowing limits were extended to allow municipalities to borrow money for up to seven years, rather than just five, in an effort to help towns cope with the slower pace of reimbursement without further burdening local property taxpayers. In addition, the downturn in the economy has brought lower interest rates, which means that if approved, the project’s annual cost to the property taxpayer will be less than was calculated last year.

Please note that the Department of Education recently proposed lowering the state’s minimum reimbursement rates for upcoming projects. The DOE has suggested reducing capital project reimbursement rates by ten percent for projects approved beginning in FY04, with a new minimum rate of 40% and a new maximum rate of 80%. Due to the large number of communities taking advantage of the program, the aim is to stretch limited dollars while financing as many new projects as possible.

While the changes are subject to legislative approval, if passed, the reimbursement rate for Easton would likely decrease for any project approved after July 2003. If the school building project is not approved this December, Easton taxpayers could have to pay $4.4 million more for the same-size project later.

I believe education is the most fiscally prudent investment a community can make. As Labor Secretary, Robert Reich used to say “The only resource that is really rooted in a nation – and the ultimate source of all its wealth – is its people.” Investments in education, when made wisely, are investments in the health of our state’s future. Children learn best in up-to-date facilities, free of overcrowding. Easton’s school children will benefit from safe, modern classrooms.

The state has pledged to assist all approved school building projects, and I am confident that if passed, this project will be a great accomplishment for the town and its residents, and will be made possible by the financial assistance of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Please feel free to call me at the office (617) 722-1643 or home (617) 696-0200 with your thoughts or suggestions, or e-mail me at [email protected].

Thank you for the opportunity to work for Easton’s schoolchildren and taxpayers.

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November 12, 2002
Dear Concerned Easton Parents and Taxpayers:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address any concerns regarding Easton’s proposed school building project. Given the current fiscal climate, I understand the caution exhibited by parents and school officials as well as property taxpayers and I hope to allay concerns with respect to reimbursement and the state’s commitment to funding first-rate public school facilities for the children of our Commonwealth.

Since its inception in 1948, the School Building Assistance program has never reneged on its commitment to reimburse municipalities for approved school building costs. Although the recent and projected state budget shortfalls affect all aspects of state spending, my colleagues and I are committed to minimizing the impact on education budget items, including school building assistance. The question is not if a community will receive reimbursement, but when.

In the Fiscal Year 2003 budget, short-term borrowing limits were extended to allow municipalities to borrow money for up to seven years, rather than just five, in an effort to help towns cope with the slower pace of reimbursement without additionally burdening local property taxpayers. To be sure, when the economy improves, the number of projects reimbursed each year will increase.

I also want to call attention to last week’s proposal by the Department of Education to lower the state’s minimum reimbursement rates for new projects. The DOE recently suggested reducing capital project reimbursement rates by ten percent for projects approved beginning in FY04, with a new minimum rate of 40% and a new maximum rate of 80%. Due to the large number of communities taking advantage of the program, the aim is to stretch limited dollars while financing as many new projects as possible.

While the changes are subject to legislative approval, if passed, the reimbursement rate for Easton would decrease for any project approved after July 2003. If the school building project is not approved this December, Easton taxpayers could likely pay $4.4 million more for the same-size project later.

Investments in education, when made wisely, are investments in the health of our state’s future. Children learn best in up-to-date facilities, free of overcrowding. Easton’s school children will benefit from safe, modern classrooms. From a financial perspective, it appears to make the most sense to pass the project in December. The state has pledged to assist all approved school building projects, and I am confident that if passed, this project will be a great accomplishment for the town and its residents, and will be made possible by the financial assistance of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Thank you for the opportunity to work on behalf of Easton’s schoolchildren and taxpayers.


Sincerely yours, BRIAN A. JOYCE
State Senator
BAJ/mmb

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