Board members dumped Donovan in August, saying there wasn't enough money in the budget. They transferred her to a principal position in the district's intermediate center.
But the story took an ugly twist once the I-Team began asking questions about an ex-superintendent who it's claimed was exerting pressure on members of the board's majority. While Ross Scarantino's attorneys have declined to comment on the allegations, multiple sources in the district confirmed to Eyewitness News Scarantino played an active role in recruiting a new superintendent. At the time, Joe Kelly, board vice president, said he was told by other board members meetings Scarantino had lobbied for a particular candidate.
See the story, reported exclusively in August by Eyewitness News here.
The night Donovan was demoted, the board voted to hire in a 5-4 vote Dr. Michael Garzella.
Scarantino's influence wasn't limited to the board of education.
Scarantino also called Donovan as many as 30 times, according to staff in the administration building. Donovan later confirmed to Eyewitness News that Scarantino was incredulous about the district dragging its feet in implementing a reading program. Scarantino, it was learned from superintendents at other area school districts, had begun a consulting job with Step By Step, a Lehigh Valley based curriculum company.
Donovan said Scarantino was trying to strong-arm the district into signing on with Step By Step. George Cosgrove, a former superintendent, told Eyewitness News in a lengthy interview in September that he was aware Scarantino had been pushing a curriculum program. He said the decision ultimately rested with Donovan.
Pittston Area decided to go elsewhere, parting company with Step By Step.
But Donovan insists she paid for it, and was retaliated against for not "playing ball" with Scarantino and certain members of the Pittston Area Board of Education.
The board decided not to call for a motion to reinstate Donovan, taking advice from a budget advisor to wait and see what figures develop for the 2013-2014 budget.
Donovan confirmed on Tuesday night she'll be reviewing her legal options tomorrow. Garzella told Eyewitness News that he would support reinstating Donovan. He confirmed she's been functioning in two roles: as intermediate principal and as unofficial curriculum principal, even though the board removed her from that post.