Coatesville school board needs another member

Posted: January 05, 2014

COATESVILLE The Coatesville Area School District is seeking another board member after the recent death of Paul Johnson.

Johnson, who represented Coatesville and Valley Township in Region I, died Dec. 20 at age 82. The board has 30 days from the time of the vacancy to vote on a candidate to fill the empty seat, according to the Pennsylvania School Code.

A former candidate spurred to run in the wake of the district's texting scandal that ousted two administrators has told the board that he is still interested. Coatesville resident Robert Beckershoff, who ran to join Johnson in Region I in November's election but came in second with 34 percent of the vote, applied for the spot.

Newcomer Deborah Thompson was elected with 55 percent, 373 more votes than Beckershoff.

In a letter to the board dated Dec. 30, Beckershoff said, "I am confident that I can work with you as a team to serve our community and children with the best education, leadership, and financial decisions."

Tonya Thames Taylor, a former school board member and the president of the Coatesville chapter of the NAACP, came in third in November's election with 11 percent of the vote. She said Friday that she would not put herself in the running for the open seat.

Taylor was the first school board member to be told of the racist and sexist text messages about students and staff sent between the district's superintendent and an athletic director that led to their resignations at the beginning of the school year.

Some district residents accused Taylor of not acting on the information quickly enough. Taylor and the rest of the school board said they acted as quickly as they could while following procedure and protecting the district from possible lawsuits.

610-313-8105 @MichaelleBond

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