By KRISTINA SCALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED: 09/23/13, 9:48 AM EDT |
Coatesville’s high school athletic director and the district superintendent resigned less than two weeks into the school year. And now reports indicate another high-profile employee may no longer be with the district.
However, the information Wednesday could not be confirmed by any official in the school district.
District Superintendent Richard Como announced his resignation Aug. 29, while Coatesville Area Senior High School Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato is also no longer with the district, 9/10 Center Principal Brian Chenger confirmed Tuesday.
School board members and administrative representatives have repeatedly failed to respond to inquiries regarding the status of district employees.
“The law requires them to give that basic information on public employees,” said Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel at Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. “The law is very clear – that information is public. It’s not confidential.”
She said the district can deny releasing specific reasons for a public employee’s departure, but names, job titles, lengths of stay and salaries are a part of public record.
According to Tim Eller, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, school districts are required to notify the department when there is a change in superintendents. The state department was not aware of the Coatesville situation and changes although it wasn’t immediately known how long the district had to report a change of superintendents.
Another spokesman at the state Education Department said the department also gets involved when disciplinary action is required. The process involves a complaint, an investigation period, hearings and the like. As of this date, there are no known complaints to the state in regards to the Coatesville Area School District.
The Daily Local News Wednesday submitted a formal request for information about the employment status of four employees to district solicitor James Ellison, board President Neil Campbell and acting Superintendent Angelo Romaniello.
The district has five business days to fulfill the request unless legal action is taken, which could then push the time limit to respond to 30 calendar days, Melewsky said.
Donato’s resignation came five days after Como announced on the district website his resignation after working 42 years in public education and half of that with Coatesville Area.
Chenger said Tuesday he was unaware of the exact day of Donato’s resignation.
When contacted by the Daily Local News over the past week, Ellison repeatedly refused to comment on Como and Donato, saying he won’t speak about personnel matters.
Last week, the Daily Local News received various tips and inquiries regarding Como’s resignation, but district representatives have declined to confirm or deny them.
Como was absent at the school board’s last meeting, on Aug. 27.
Several people had contacted the Daily Local News anonymously to report the possible departure of Donato, which Chenger confirmed Tuesday.
According to Ellison, Como had asked to make his resignation announcement public, and he did that by putting it on the district’s website Thursday night. In the posting, the district says Como “has decided to retire and resigned from the district.”
“I don’t know how long he (Como) has been thinking about his resignation,” Ellison said last week, adding the district followed his wishes to put his parting words on the website. “That was his goodbye to the community.”
An official public announcement has not been made by the school district regarding Donato’s departure.
According to an announcement last week by the school district, Assistant Superintendent Angelo Romaniello will temporarily step in as superintendent until the school board selects a permanent replacement for Como.
Romaniello spent nine years as an administrator at the high school and the school district’s central administration offices. He has been assistant superintendent since 2010 after receiving his doctorate from Immaculata University.
Romaniello has not returned phone calls seeking comment regarding Como or Donato.
Como’s retirement was effective Sept. 2, and an acting athletic director has yet to be named.
The next full school board meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. in the 9/10 Center auditorium at high school campus, located at 1425 East Lincoln Highway, Coatesville.
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