Second administrator exits Coatesville schools

Athletic director joins superintendent on list of sudden departures

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe turmoil continues: Less than a week after the abrupt retirement of the Coatesville Area School District (CASD) superintendent, the district’s high school athletic director has resigned, a school administrator said Tuesday.

James Donato, a former football coach at Kennett High School who became Coatesville’s athletic director in 2010, is no longer employed by the district, said Brian Chenger, principal of the 9-10 Center. Chenger said he did not know when Donato tendered his resignation. School employees said the athletic director had not been seen the first week of school, and he did not attend Saturday’s high school football game in York.

A representative of the district’s Human Resources department said that information about a resignation could only be released by the acting superintendent, who did not return phone or email inquiries. Board President J. Neil Campbell also did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Asked whether the District Attorney’s Office played any role in the sudden departure of the two administrators, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan declined to comment.

Former Superintendent Richard Como retired on Aug. 29, issuing a public statement that said after 42 years in education, about half of them in Coatesville, “the timing is right.” His resignation became effective four days later. Assistant Superintendent Angelo Romaniello Jr. has assumed Como’s duties on a temporary basis while the board conducts a nationwide search for a new superintendent, a district news release said.

Asked about both Como and Donato, school board solicitor James Ellison repeatedly said, “I can’t comment on personnel issues.” He said the board released Como’s resignation letter only because Como authorized its release. “We didn’t analyze the truthfulness of his claims,” Ellison said in response to suggestions that members of the public did, fueling speculation. “There are always rumors; that’s just the cost of doing business,” he said.

Ellison said the search for Como’s replacement would begin shortly.

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48 Responses

  1. What the heck did he do? Missing funds?

  2. There will be more…wait for it…..wait for it…….

  3. Anonymous,

    What are you referring to with your entry? Coaches? Administrators? What do you know?

  4. And as all the Como-appointed Directors and Managers-underlings all vie for the job, we will have to endure allegations of sexism, racism (in one case both) and God knows what else. Time to clean house top to bottom. The dominoes will drop perhaps not quickly, but they will drop….

  5. Sounds like some “crap is about to hit the fan” so to speak, let me bail out before it happens (they said).

  6. Missing money or drugs I’m sure.

  7. This action was predicted 2 days ago with a bit of detail on the Football message board. Still only rumors but they’re all we’ve seen so far. This is not an endorsement of the Preps comments. They may be wrong. If they’re right, this is not the end.

  8. It sickens me to see how sad all you negative people are. Ever since the news first broke about Como’s resignation, rumors, speculations and accusations have been flying around without one thought of what such unfounded lies may do to those involved and their families. You are purposely ruining the reputation of innocent people. How can you live with yourself? How can you look into the mirror knowing you just took to the internet to vent and write about a total stranger and decide to trash talk about him/them. What kind of low life scum bag are you that you who are not even involved, who have no clue of the real truth, of what is (if anything) going on are going to write and spread rumors about people without realizing the hurt your words may cause? People like all of those who have commented on these “stories” should take a look at themselves and ask “what if someone did that to me tomorrow”? You are basically destroying someone’s life and not giving a crap about it. What if I did the same to you tomorrow? The sad part in all of this is that people don’t really have a clue or refuse to accept Como’s resignation for what it really is: A resignation! No! We have to speculate that something happened, he did something. For crying out loud. How about the pathetic person who claimed they say Como being led out in handcuffs by the FBI! Really??? That was the funniest thing I read all day! I was there! I saw him in the office saying goodbye to employees, there was no FBI, CIA, DA or whatever else you may cook up. Seriously people . . . The man resigned for his own reasons. Whatever it may be . . . it is his business, not yours. What makes you think he owes YOU an explanation? So what if the public is pissed off because there are too many kids in the classrooms, programs and teachers being cut, etc. What does that have to do with his resignation? If you want to be angry and voice your opinions go do so at a regularly scheduled monthly board meeting. They are open to the public and nothing is hidden. Voice your comments there. There is so much anger in Coatesville, so much poverty, so many problems in the community that you cannot see clearly anymore and you would through your own mother under the bus for a minute worth of fame or to be on TV commenting, or like you already have been: making unfounded false accusations and spreading rumors, without even a second stopping to think if as you make these accusations, there will be children of these families reading your comments, or hearing it from a friend. What if it was YOU and YOUR family? What about Donato now? I read today that he resigned as well. Let’s throw him into this mess as well right? What the heck, one more to the pot right? Does it matter why he resigned? Does it matter that he resigned before the school year started? Could it have been personal? From what I know it was. It was personal and family related, he left on his own. But who gives a crap right? Why shall we think that it could have been personal, it must be related to Como, they must be in on it together right? So sad to see what this world is coming to. But Wait, it doesn’t end here! What about this “Michael” person in this comment section who said “Missing Funds?” Are you for real? What planet do you live on? This is a public school, with paper trails, money and budgets assigned. Do you think that all of a sudden people are just helping themselves? Sure, as soon as there is a story and a reporter has nothing better to right about because they have to fill the space, they start the rumor mill and then the rest of the public is so quick to join. Let’s just kick them while they are down right! Stop all this nonsense people and look at yourself in the mirror tonight and ask “what if it was me?”

    • Drugs “Marie”? Really . . . of course . .. it is Coatesville we are talking about so it has to be drugs or money right? What if it was West Chester? Could it be that they stole the caviar? . . . so sad . . . so pathetic . . .

    • CJ, it’s hard to answer the question, what if it was me, I would hope that I would never be in that position!!! God’s word cautions us that, we reap what we sow!!!

    • C.J.,

      Sudden, unexplained resignations from well paying public sector jobs (like say, the superintendent of a school district) usually mean that the resignation wasn’t completely voluntary.

      The lack of public statement regarding these two high profile resignations further indicates there is more to the story and fuels the speculation that legally questionable actions caused these sudden resignations.

      My money pays (payed) theses guys’ salaries. It is our right to know why they suddenly quit. If my money was mishandled by the trust given these officials, I want justice. Therefore it sure as hell is my (i.e the public’s) business.

      To answer your question about what if it was my family, I will answer that this way: If I was retiring or resigning from a high profile public trust position I wouldn’t do it suddenly unless there was truly extraordinary circumstances (death, dismemberment/serious illness). I would announce the date (end of semester/ school year) and I would be very forthcoming with my reason and answer any reasonable question directed my way. In other words, I wouldn’t put myself in the situation these two guys did.

      Best case scenario: these guys resigned with about as little class as possible. Don’t the tax payers deserve better? Worst case scenario… I don’t want to speculate.

      I hope you are right and that these guys resigned suddenly for very innocent reasons.

    • CJ? The people who resigned are public officials who have contact with innocent children every day. Stop lecturing about innocence as no one knows if or there were allegations of wrong doing?

      What troubles me this is the third superintendent to resign under questionable circumstances?

    • Hey C.J…You sure have alot to say about this situation. While you were watching Como leave, sending along his farewells to everyone did he mention freezing alot of peoples pay while he & his continued to get raises. Sounds to me like you got yours. You may be the next shoe to drop. Just sayin…

  9. What other administrators are involved? Any coaches?

  10. Involved? Michael . .get a life! Everybody is involved right? Coaches, assistants, board members, principals, heck secretaries, teachers . .. let’s just wipe the entire school district and start over right? You are not going to be satisfied until you destroy someone with your comments? Let me find out who you really are so that I can start a witch hunt of “Michael”. God forbid if anybody had any plans of retiring or planned to quit their job this season at Coatesville. Heck, they better rethink because now they will be thrown under the bus as well. People don’t resign or the plot will thicken.

  11. Okay CJ….you seem to have an awful large amount of knowledge of what has occurred. Come on and tell us the truth. We want to hear directly from one of Como’s cronies.

  12. I am so done with this. I took my time to say what I had to. To the rest of you. Sleep tight! You just ruined someone with your rumors and accusations. Tomorrow it might be your turn. Life is a b..tch. What goes around comes around!

  13. Oh Michael . . one last comment . . .”Yes” I DO have knowledge and YOU DON’T! And NO, I won’t share it with you or the rest of the world because it is not your darn business. Until then, realize how pathetic you are. Spending every minute waiting for a comment to get posted so that you can finally get a chance to voice your opinion. I bet you were very oppressed as a child that you finally get a chance to vent now. As I said. So sad. Good night . . . you might just be next!

    • Now say something nice about Michael!!! 🙂 Michael I don’t think you’re pathetic!!! Have a blessed day!!!!

  14. As a taxpayer in the City of Coatesville it is my business CJ. No doubt that Como and his boys are crooks and have stolen from the residents of Coatesville. Come on moron, tell us what you know.

  15. CJ- It may be personal reasons behind Como’s sudden retirement/resignation, and Donato’s resignation. I’ve never personally had any problems dealing with Como, he’s always been okay to me.

    That being said, something doesn’t make sense here.
    1. Coatesville is a PUBLIC school district. If there were inquiries filed about Donato and Como under the Right to Know Act, I believe Coatesville HAS to disclose the information.

    2. The truth will come out. Until I hear the whole story, I’m neutral.

    3. Why didn’t they leave at the end of the school year?

    4. Why wait to leave until either the end of the calendar year, or the 2013-14 school year?

  16. That’s just it, Como DIDN’T give a reason for leaving, at least make up one, I want to travel, I want to spend more time with my grand kids, I have health problems, no I didn’t hear any reason come out in the articles. That alone makes it suspicious!

  17. Please don’t engage in dialog with this fraud CJ. He or she knows nothing.

    It is obvious something serious is going on. No one from the district or DA office is commenting. Those that truly know Como, understand he would have never retired like this. No succession plan, transition, one last “victory lap”. It does not add up. And you think the AD resignation is just by chance at the same time???

    Good luck spinning this one some more…

  18. Hey, Did Gerald Pawling have anything to to with these two, if so I am sue there is some money missing……….

  19. Any reasonable person knows that a person at Como’s level (and age) just doesnt resign/retire “effective immediately”. This scenario alone will always spawn questions/rumors. (Why ? What did he do ? Where is he going ? Is he sick ? etc etc etc) The timing is all wrong. Como’s explanation in his letter that was released to the public doesnt make sense.

    In regards to rumors, ive heard alot and from different sources. (inside and outside). All of these rumors are consistant with each other and with the exception of one (grossly wrong), all have turned out to be true.

    As T.O. said “Get your popcorn ready”…..

  20. If this is all speculation than the District, and more importantly the DA should provide a statement. Ignoring the public is only adding fuel to the fire. We have all heard the “rumors” that Como and Donato were out prior to either announcement of their resignation/retirement. If the DA is investigation, and they should simply state that they are looking into the allegations. If the DA is NOT conducting an investigation than simply state that there is no investigation being conducted by the DA. If the School Board has nothing to hide than release a press statement stating such and more importantly release the details of Como’s contract as requested by the Coatesville Times. The “rumors” are not going to go away until they are addressed, and ignoring the public will lead to more distrust of the School Board.

    • you are answering your questions.

      If the DA’s office is not investigating, they say “no” not “no comment”. Same thing with the CASD, they are educated people and know the community is looking for answers, they obviously don’t have one that this point.

  21. WOW!! WOW!! WOW!!!! I do not know who “CJ” thinks they are but, they have serious issues!!! For starters, let me just remind you, this is America & Michael, Don, Mike, Ontheinside and the press, has just as much of a right to express their thoughts, as you do!!!
    Personally, I don’t think people are upset with Como’s abrupt resignation, it’s actually the best thing that has happened to the CASD in a long time!! However, if something illegal was going on, then it isn’t just Como’s business, the taxpayers have every right to know!!!!!!!!
    Concerning Coatesville being angry, you bet people are angry & the main reason I’m upset is, our children are entitled to a free & appropriate education & they suffer because of administrators that feel they can do as they please!!!
    I’ve watched as benefits have been taken away from teachers but, not the administrators!!! Much needed teachers aides were cut last year & teachers were having to buy their own copying paper & shopping at yard sales for other supplies, while positions in the athletic department were created!!! Ask yourselves, is it wrong to use taxpayers money to create jobs for your friends & family??
    I’m thankful that the “Good Old Boys” regime is crumbling!!! My prayer is that our new superintendent will be an advocate for our children!!!!

    • ConcernedCitizen, you hit the nail right on the head!!!!

    • You are absolutely correct. Where is the logic when it comes to focusing resources on education, rather than sports????

      Not only do teachers have to buy their own copy paper, but we were told at our childrens back to school night that the school could not afford to buy the kids books for a particular class — they were told that they would need to take ‘good notes’.
      Are you f&<% kidding me???

      Andtic Director (with the backing of the Superintendent and Football Coach) approves the purchase of 'commerative' football rings for last years football team — to the tune of $15,000+ . Where their is smoke their is fire — more yet to come, you can bet on that!!

      • Long Live Coatesville, you are dead on!!! While the children & teachers do without,..anyone involved in sports received perks!!

    • I failed to mention the other culprits, our school board!!! I urge parents & taxpayers to start attending board meetings & hold everyone accountable!!!

  22. Where are the like buttons? I would like to press them for ConcernedCitizen!!!! Thank you!!

  23. The lack of transparency on these matters is astounding. The CASD school board needs to be more forth-coming. As a local resident who pays $7,000 annually in school property taxes, I demand the that the school board be more transparent on matters such as this.

    Usually resignations from long-term or important school adminstrators are accompanied with ‘letters of thanks’ from School Board members. In the case of these two resignations, there has been nothing.

    I am all for waiting for the process to play itself out, but the school board needs to be more forthcoming, particulary if there is an issue that may be crimianl (e.g. misappropriating of funds). I have hears ‘rumors’ of all sort.

    Time for the CASD school board to either: a) put all rumors to rest with an official statement, or b) provide the taxpayers with the real reason these two tenured administrators just so happen to resign in the same week.

    The longer we go without any information, the guiltier individuals look.

  24. To Parent! That would be nice to think that School Board is taking action. Unfortunately I don’t this is the case. Some or most of them are/were part of the good ole boys club. A few of the past Board members resigned their Board Posts and were give jobs in the administration (CREATED JOBS with nice salaries and benefits) And lets not forget, Mr. Como’s own son was hired in a maintainace position for which he was not qualified and then became the head of it. UMMM.
    We can solve some of the problems by having all of those employed by the District to have a current State and Federal Background check conducted. If you fail-you’r fired-that means you hired illigally.

    The old rule of thumb in any investigation, especially in the Ville, follow the flow of the money and who has/had control of it. There are too many if’s, and’s and but’s. NO ONE CLEAN when it comes to anyone in an Administrative Position and even the Board members. Just some food for thought. CJ may think he/she knows, but don’t your breath.

    • I so agree with Retired Fed!!!! It’s one of those deals of, “you scratch my back & I’ll scratch yours!!!”

  25. Not to change the subject, but did anyone ever find out why the Caln police chief was dismissed? It was never made public. This matter has the same tone, like it will just be quietly swept under the carpet. Time will tell.

  26. If there was a scandal, I hope it turns out that this “Cj” person was deeply involved and gets punished to the fullest extent of the law. What a nut… Could have gotten your point across without so much ranting and raving and people probably would have actually sided with you. Take it down a notch (or ten).

  27. Funny how CJ is sickened by the negativity and comments that people write. Hey CJ, in case you didn’t brush up on your coatesville history lesson, this district has been plagued by sudden departures of superintendents for many years. The residents of this district are fed up with cover ups, thieves, snakes, liars and people like you who love to walk around convincing yourselves that these people don’t exist. Unfortunately any good these individuals may have done over the years, is suppressed by the many, MANY rumors of the money that was squandered (Most profoundly known is the frivolous $ spent on football teams). Love live the football team!! Guess what, we are proud of the accomplishements of these boys, but our other sports, clubs, education and district name is suffering over bad choices. If you think for one minute that we all haven’t been privy to the sneaky behavior, you are wrong!! Before you get angry at the residents who have voiced an opinion, get your facts. When a community has a great deal of people who all have heard the same story about things that took place from our adminstrators over the years, you can almost bet it’s because it’s true. Residents deserve some answers and it IS supposed to be public knowledge. This little charade is getting old. No one serves 42 years (half his term in the same district) and just retires. Como’s ego is too big to go out like that. Especially during a possible championship football year. If he was ill or needed to care for a family member and had to abruptly resign, we would know that, because they are not afraid to share that. It’s a fact. The secretive dismissal ONLY leads to specualtion of foul play in some way. People just don’t resign within the first two weeks of school. Let’ not insult everyone’s who is reading these articles intelligence.
    Cj writes… “So what if the public is pissed off because there are too many kids in the classrooms, programs and teachers being cut, etc. What does that have to do with his resignation?” Hello CJ…. It has everything to do with him!!! He is ultimately responsible for this district. The city and its suburbs have come a very LONG way in the past 10 years and the information about the crooked people who have served and stole from our community, schools and children is yet just another blow to us… The information that has been released to us in the last month about people we were supposed to trust in our commuity makes me sick. CJ, you better remember who pays these salaries. When I contribute to the pot that pays someone to look out for my families best interest, I expect it to be done. When they don’t, I want answers. We received answers when the 13 million was found and we received that tax money back in our pockets. That was the right thing to do. Now we sit here and watch two middle schools get the lamest makeover I have ever seen, an elementary school that needs to be torn down still stands and students and teachers get ripped off in the classroom, BUT we have the finest state of the art football stadium in the area. The CKR football field and Cville little league field facility is embarrassing to bring people too (district owned property for those who don’t know it). Maybe the football coach can dip into that six figure paycheck Como hooked him up with to give back to the ROTC that got cut and other activities…
    Here is my ending to my rant… CJ wrote at the end… “This is a public school, with paper trails, money and budgets assigned. Do you think that all of a sudden people are just helping themselves?” Answer: YES, people lie, squander, change paperwork, push things through in school districts EVERY DAY!!!! Been going on here for too many years and every other school district in the area too boot. Happened in Dtown, WC and others… Hey, it happened in our police department recently… Bet he is glad this came out to take the focus off of him. It just keeps happening here way more than it should… Can’t wait to see what great things come of cleaning house for Coatesville. What a great city we have that get’s no recognition. The possiblities here are endless. I hope from here the only way is up. Get rid of all them all!!!!

  28. Just talked to a friend of mine that has family that works in the CASD. He was told that a LOT of $$$$$$ came up missing! More to come!

  29. Funny how only every few years the public gets upset. Ever go to a board meeting and see wharlt is happening. There have been issues for years.

  30. Why does Coatesville never seem to improve. There is plenty of tax money to go around. There are certain people who prey on a tough situation. The corrupt police dept. who use their position to take advantage of easy money and always seem to look the other way as things get worse. Then there is the school district. Again there is plenty of tax money. Too much probably. It has been my experience that there is an abundance of people who have no problem taking someone elses money in the name of doing good. These people seem to thrive while the rest of us struggle paying bills. It is this way always. There is the Comos with their nepotism and cronyism who have so much power that they resemble the mafia. To really find out how corrupt this administration is they need a grand jury. They need to talk to the good teachers. The ones who always got the tough dutys. The ones who still care. Not the ones who skated by because they knew Como , Fisher, or the other capos @Casd. One last thing. It is a special POS who takes advantage of a situation with soooo many at risk kids. One more thing. This resignation is an attempt by these crooks to save their pension.


  31. Another reminder of poor decisions by school administrators was three years ago when a convicted felony (Victor Ford) was hired as an aide and later arrested for the sexual assault of a female juvenile. Way to go guys.

  32. Meeting at the 9/10 center tonight … they tried to sneak one in

    • Although we heard from several folks today that a meeting would be held tonight, there may be some confusion because a regularly scheduled committee meeting is on the schedule for tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the 9-10 Center.

  33. Hey CJ! I bet you feel pretty silly now that we know about the texts…

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