Guilderland school board: Luciano Alonzi

Luciano Alonzi

Luciano Alonzi

GUILDERLAND — Luciano Alonzi says his recent firsthand experience as a Guilderland student gives him insights other board members may not have. At 22, he’s making his first run for school board.

He says he’s “seen the system from the inside.”

He also noted that both his mother and grandmother were teachers and he values the profession.

Alonzi, who went through the Guilderland school system, will finish his bachelor of science degree from Penn State in July in athletic training and, upon graduation, will be certified as a conditioning specialist and as an athletic trainer.

“I’ve always had an interest in government,” he said. “I believe in America we have a unique opportunity that anyone who’s a citizen can run for an elected position and can serve their community and their state and their country.”

He went on, “With the coronavirus, we have some new challenges that are very complex.” He said that the district will need leadership that can come up with common-sense and practical solutions.

First and foremost, Alonzi said, it’s imperative to get students back in the classroom, while complying with state and federal guidelines.

Alonzi has taken college courses online, including a course in jazz that was designed as an online course as well as his entire course load after restrictions were put in place for the pandemic. He feels this experience will be valuable for him in his role on the school board.

But, he said, online learning is not a permanent solution. Lots of learning at school is social, he said.

Alonzi also said that some of his recent distance learning at Penn State was less meaningful — for example, an anatomy laboratory course where he would have worked with cadavers — when it had to be taught online.

And to do remote learning well, Alonzi said, Guilderland would need the technology and infrastructure to be sure every student has access, which, he noted, would cost money.

While at Guilderland, Alonzi played football, ran track, and wrestled as well as joining the high school’s robotics team. He really enjoyed playing sports and made lifelong friends, he said.

Alonzi believes it’s important for Guilderland to continue to offer not just sports but band and theater and a wide range of clubs so students have the opportunity to explore their interests.

He’d like to see a turf field installed on the high school as there are times, Alonzi said, when spring sports have to rent out fields because of the poor condition of the home fields.

On finances, Alonzi noted that funding right now is “up in the air” and that budget cuts are not easy to do.

“I’d approach it with a scalpel rather than a hammer,” he said, cutting just enough to get by for now.

Alonzi said he would start with looking at the biggest expenses. If learning were to continue online, he noted, there would continue to be savings with transportation and utilities and maintenance of buildings.

He noted that he had learned in large classes at Penn State but said such large lectures might not work well in high school.

He likened having to make such a choice to having a gun held to his head. He said, if forced to prioritize, he’d have to go with cutting salaries first, before cutting programs.

Alonzi thinks Guilderland’s co-teaching model is “phenomenal.” He took classes that used that model.

He noted it was expensive, though, and the cost would have to be balanced.

He concluded, “You have to work with teachers, students, and parents to make information-based decisions.” Alonzi vowed to do so.

He added that he will have social-media pages for people to follow — on Instagram: Luc.alonzi4boe and on Facebook: Luciano Alonzi for Guilderland BOE.  “They will be a great way to interact with the community and to provide updates and transparency on topics and issues,” Alonzi said.

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