Looking ahead to 2014

The year 2014 is here, and there are a number of issues and projects expected to get attention or resolution this year.

Probably the most dramatic decisions and changes will occur within the schools and the board that oversees them. This year will bring school resource officers, or SROs — armed and uniformed police officers — to interact with students, keep them safer and serve as just one more adult mentor in their lives. It is expected that there will be one officer at each high school, and two others to work with the middle schools and elementary schools.

But that isn’t the only change: In 2014, we expect that renovation work at East Shore Middle School will wrap up.

We can also expect to see some very important information coming out of the Board of Education’s Long Range Planning Committee. The committee has been studying various issues, including student population, and the impact those population figures will have on the future configuration of the city’s schools. Among other concepts, the board is looking into returning to a neighborhood school format, where schools are configured into K-5, 6-8 and high school age.

Inside the classroom, students and teachers are incorporating new Common Core standards into their lessons, focusing on a set of national standards that identify what knowledge students should possess at each point in their education. These standards do not dictate how a teacher teaches and what lessons are used, but rather what knowledge should be mastered at various points in time.

Outside the schools, Milford residents can expect to see continued renovations to shoreline homes damaged by storms Sandy and Irene. The government recently released funds to help people who didn’t have enough money — between their insurance and other government dollars — to complete the work. This is expected to spur a wave of renovations and some busy times in the city’s permitting and land use offices.

Residents can expect to see resolution to an issue that has garnered the attention of historic preservationists, of which there are quite a few in Milford: the Sanford Bristol house. The 1790 North Street house was to be knocked down and replaced with a newer version, until historians stepped in to prevent that. The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation recently agreed to purchase the house, with the understanding that it will then sell it to a private individual who will spend the money to restore it.

There are several staff openings in the city, among them one of the top city officials, that of public works director. Bruce Kolwicz retired in November after many years on the job. The job just may be the one that residents connect to the most, as the public works director oversees trash pickup, street improvements, snowplowing — the things that impact our everyday lives. The city will be looking at applicants and choosing Kolwicz’ replacement in 2014.

No doubt much will happen this year, from development and infrastructure improvements to a new event called Invention Convention aimed at spurring scientific interest among Milford’s students.

We at The Milford Mirror look forward to bringing readers the big news of 2014.