Should you say No to the Band Director Rehiring

Medina’s band students and parents

Should you say “No to the Band Director Rehiring”! Medina’s band students and parents sang praises of the school district’s band director to the Board of Education at a meeting Monday night.

At least eight people spoke during a special public comment session in an attempt to convince the board to rehire Gary Ciulla, who announced his retirement last month.

image of band director gary ciulla

Band Director

They were not successful

“The board has considered and decided they don’t want to go down that path as a district practice,” Superintendent Dave Knight said.

Ciulla, who has been a music teacher with Medina for 35 years, turned in a letter of resignation at the end of February, intending to retire at the end of the school year, Knight said.

Under the new State Teachers Retirement System — which was changed through legislation in 2012 — as of Aug. 1, teachers with 35 years of experience will receive about 77 percent of their final average salary as a pension.

If Ciulla, 57, retires before Aug. 1, he will receive about 88 percent of his final average salary.

“He would have to work another five years in order to get back up to the 88 percent,” said Jim Shields, the district’s director of human resources.

State law requires districts to hold a public hearing before rehiring a retiree in the same position, Knight said.

“If we hire someone back in the same position, that’s something our school district has never done before,” he said. “We have not hired somebody back in their teaching position.”

The board does not have a written policy on retire/rehires.

“It’s not a policy; it’s a practice,” he said. “The board has not done that in the past, and there are no plans of doing it in the future.”

Shields said he suspects the board may not want to have a public hearing because rehiring Ciulla may not “sit well” with taxpayers.

“The idea that he’d be collecting a public pension and also receiving a public salary — that doesn’t sit well with a lot of taxpayers,” he said. “If you weren’t a band parent and just looked at it from a taxpayer’s point of view, it doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.”

Knight said another reason for not pursuing a rehire is it would set a precedent for other district employees with 35 years’ service.

“There are lots of philosophical reasons why a board of education would not want to get into that,” he said. “At what point do you transition, because no one lives forever. Do you set a precedent then because what you do for one, do you need to do for all?”

One band parent who attended the Monday meeting agreed with Knight.

image of medina band director gary

“If you’re going to do this for one teacher, you have to do this for everybody with 35 years, even if they don’t have a large group of parents lobbying for them,” said Janice Krusoczky, who has been a Medina band parent for nine years.

But Musical Bees members, and their parents who spoke Monday, were hoping for an exception with Ciulla.

Source: Medina Gazette

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