The Board of Education wants Superintendent of Schools David Title to prioritize his improvement initiatives so that the proposals' impact on the budget can be measured.
Comments on Title's presentation of 31 districtwide initiatives during Tuesday's school board meeting also reflected board members' desire to be updated more regularly on the measures, which include everything from programs' implementation to physical plant projects.
"These are considerable activities designed to improve one or more aspect of the school district, and you'll see in a few cases they are responses to state and federal mandates," Title told the board.
Among the initiatives, launched in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year, is "Development of a school safety and security improvement plan in conjunction with the Fairfield Police Department."
"We are revising and we are working with the Police Department on that, and we do need to get that done ... by the end of this school year, through legislation," Title said.
"It's not a case that everyone of these things will cost money," the superintendent said of the initiatives. "Some of these will save money ... Don't think that all of these are costly initiatives. Some may save money. Some may be cost-neutral," such as plans to develop and communication of the 2014-15 education budget.
"Some of these appear to be a little open-ended," Title said, such as some initiatives relating to school schedules. "These may not move along as (fast) ... Time may squeeze those out."
Board member Sue Brand said she'd like to see the items put into an overall strategic plan with a timeline. "I think moving forward that would be very beneficial in seeing if we want to fund these," she said, also asking for updates on progress accomplishing the initiatives throughout the year.
"I will commit to all of you and to the public to do more updating of this," Title said, specifying that "where we have something to report that's substantive, I'll be happy to do it."
Member Paul Fattibene asked if a quarterly update would be possible, "so we're sort of informed before we get the ultimate conclusion of where the recommendation would be of where to go."
Title said implementation of the new teacher and administrator evaluation plans, as required by state legislation, is the most comprehensive issue that school officials will focus on. "The biggest one there -- the 800-pound gorilla -- is the new teacher and administrator evaluation plan," he said. "This is going to consume us."
"We have started the training of that," the superintendent added, which makes part of educators' evaluation contingent on strong standardized test scores. "We had very good sessions with the teachers and the administrators over the summer. To do this well is going to be a huge thing."
"That's the big thing and we will see how that goes," he said. "Everyone has a really good attitude about it for the time being."