Coatesville Schools Don’t Provide Requested Information

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The clock expired Thursday for the Coatesville Area School District to respond to three Right-to-Know requests submitted last month by the Daily Local News, a sister paper of The Times Herald.

The newspaper made the requests in response to the abrupt departures of former Superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato.

Those requests, because the district hadn’t replied within 30 days of when it first said it needed more time to check on the legality of releasing the information, were deemed denied Thursday.

On Sept. 10, school board solicitor and attorney James Ellison advised the Daily Local the district needed an additional 30 calendar days beyond the usual five business days public entities have to respond to the newspaper’s Right to Know request.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/social-affairs/20131014/coatesville-schools-dont-provide-requested-information

Shouts And Accusations At Coatesville Area Board Meeting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CALN — Members of the Coatesville Area School Board continued to bear the brunt of public outrage Tuesday as calls for the removal of the district’s acting superintendent and solicitor dominated a public meeting held over a month after the controversial departure of two former administrators.

At Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled school board committees meeting in the district’s 9/10 Center auditorium, community members again criticized the school board’s handling of the resignations of former Superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato.

The highlight of the meeting came when Acting Assistant Superintendent Teresa Powell, one of two whistleblowers who uncovered the racist and sexist text messages exchanged on Como and Donato’s district-issued cell phones, took the podium and accused acting Superintendent Angelo Romaniello of exchanging insensitive text messages about her with his predecessor.

According to Powell, the text message transcripts at the center of the district’s ongoing controversy contained exchanges that referenced her by name, and that the now acting superintendent was a key participant in those conversations.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131009/shouts-and-accusations-at-coatesville-area-board-meeting

Lawyer Alleges Two Harassed In Coatesville

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since exposing racist and sexist texts between the former Coatesville Area School District superintendent and former high school athletic director, two district employees have been subjected to continuing harassment from administrators, including the acting superintendent, a lawyer for the two has alleged.

In an e-mail to the school board Sunday, Sam Stretton also called on acting superintendent Angelo Romaniello to step down.

In response, school board president Neil Campbell issued a statement on behalf of the district, calling Stretton’s claim of harassment “ridiculous.” The district was simply following policy regarding litigation it believed was possibly forthcoming on behalf of the two employees, technology director Abdallah Hawa and Teresa Powell, the acting assistant superintendent, Campbell said.

In a brief phone call Sunday, Romaniello said he “extremely, vehemently disagrees” with Stretton’s allegations. He would not comment further.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130930_In_Coatesville_schools_scandal__harassment_alleged.html#RruM1UXmkte57k0f.99

Coatesville’s Como A Steady Success – Until The Texting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around noon on Father’s Day, Steve Brazzle texted Rich Como, his onetime principal at Coatesville High School.

“Happy Father’s Day pop pop,” Brazzle wrote, poking fun at Como’s age.

“My son!” replied Como, 67. “Much appreciated and thanks as always for remembering me. That does mean so much.”

Brazzle, who is black, wrote back: “Of course. Thanks for being who you are.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130929_Coatesville_s_Como_a_steady_success_-_until_the_texting.html#5UA4BoiZe55G1ksd.99

Coatsville Area School District In Crisis After Racially-Charged Rext Messages Surface

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The abrupt departure of the Coatesville Area School District superintendent and another senior administrator came two weeks after numerous exchanges of inappropriate and racially-charged text messages were discovered on their district-issued cell phones, and multiple sources have indicated that school board officials were not only aware of the exchanges, but were prepared to allow the pair to remain in their positions until the conduct prompted a criminal investigation, the Daily Local News has learned.

The Coatesville Area School Board is expected to formally vote to approve the resignations of former Superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato at Tuesday’s public meeting.  Como announced his “retirement” through a letter posted on the district’s website on August 29. Reports of Donato’s resignation surfaced several days later.  Both came unexpectedly during the first week of the school year.

Text messages exchanged from school-issued cell phone numbers between Como and Donato contained repeated use of a commonly known derogatory phrase referring to African American or black individuals.  In one instance, the term was used 14 times in one conversation.

The school district has not commented on the resignations, but two sources with knowledge of the situation said the departures were the direct result of discoveries found on Donato’s cell phone. More disturbingly, the sources said the school board was made aware of the text messages and was prepared to allow Como and Donato to remain in their positions until the transcripts were leaked to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, prompting a criminal investigation.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/social-affairs/20130923/coatsville-area-school-district-in-crisis-after-racially-charged-text-messages-surface

Superintendent, Athletic Director Out In Coatesville

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coatesville school board officials Tuesday announced that the district’s superintendent and a senior athletic director had resigned – and that they could not comment further because of an ongoing investigation by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

In a brief statement, board officials said Richard Como, the superintendent, and Jim Donato, Coatesville Area Senior High School director of athletics and activities, had submitted letters of resignation.  The board is to vote on those letters Sept. 24.

Como initially announced his retirement two weeks ago in a post on the district website.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130911_Superintendent__athletic_director_out_in_Coatesville.html#ViyjYV7yX25EU21A.99