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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 12, 2011

Emilio Genzano

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — “I want to work for this community,” said Emilio Genzano. “I’ve learned a great deal in two years on the board. I want to put it into action.”

Genzano has been on the school board for two years because of two separate appointments.

He works as the assistant vice president for engineering and construction at Albany Medical Center. He had run unsuccessfully for the school board in 2001 and 2002 before being appointed in the fall of 2009.

Last year, he spearheaded the drive by sports boosters to raise over $60,000 to restore the freshmen and repeat sports cut from the 2010-11 budget. This year, he convinced the board at the last minute, in a split vote, to restore half of the funds for freshmen sports.

“I love the Guilderland school district,” Genzano said this seek, citing the education his children have received. He and his wife, Jill, have three children — Emilio Jr., Joseph, and Maria.

“I want to be part of this,” said Genzano. “We have a great group of individuals on the board. Our superintendent is a great gal, looking at things in a fresh way. The teachers [and other workers are] all good people. I’m proud to be part of this. I’ll work as hard as I can to make it better,” he said.

“You cannot prioritize,” Genzano responded when asked about his primary allegiance. “You have to stay balanced across the board.”

He went on, “I struggle with how my decisions affect everyone.”

Genzano supports the $89 million budget proposal, stating, “I worked very hard on it with the other members of the board.”

He went on, “Would I want more in? Yes. Do we understand we can’t? Yes. I would love to have foreign language in. I would love to have advanced curriculum in.”

Genzano said he wants to look at how to more efficiently deliver programs. “We have to look at how we deliver our product differently,” he said. “You have to be two years ahead of time to change it.”

On the budget process, Genzano said, “I was involved in CBAC [Citizens’ Budget Advisory Committee]. It was a good process. What we used this year was better.”

He said, though, that this year’s process could be improved upon, too. “Make it more educative,” he said. “Get more perspectives in.”

Asked what course the board should take if the budget doesn’t pass on May 17, Genzano said, “I don’t want to talk about it being voted down. I don’t think it will be. I don’t know which way I would go. I’m going to concentrate on getting it passed.”

Asked about tax-hike parameters for the 2011-12 budget, Genzano said, “I want to try to get better at what we deliver. Let’s get efficient. We can get closer so the 2-percent [tax cap proposed by the governor] won’t effect us as badly if we can consolidate.”

When asked if raises should be given when negotiating contracts, Genzano said, “We’re dealing with educators. They understand the process. The governor said this year, there is no more money; we can’t afford to do what we’ve been doing. It will be up to the unions themselves to understand we have to adapt. It’s not what we expect; it’s what is going to be expected of themselves…There’s no choice anymore.”

Genzano also said, “Everybody thinks that the state budget passing on time was no big deal. To me, it’s a big deal; it’s a message. There cannot be guarantees anymore…They are professionals,” he said of district employees, “and very important to what we do. There’s no guarantee anymore.”

On full-day kindergarten, Genzano, who voted to keep the program next year, said, “It affects 350-some families in our community. I try to put myself in their shoes.”

He also said, “The attention span of a 5-year-old is different. You have to fight to get it and to keep it. You have to be creative to introduce concepts to them.”

Genzano went on, “It’s my job to not only judge our experience but in the environment today. Technology has changed everything. We need to prepare our kids for us to be competitive. You need a full-day approach. You have to give the educator and the educatee the time.”

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