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Boards Release RLA Principal
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Riverbank Language Academy Principal Dr. David Austin was released from his position by joint action of the advisory RLA and Riverbank Unified School District boards on Tuesday, June 5.

The two boards put an end to recent controversy over his leadership of the charter school by agreeing to dismiss him following closed-door meetings on the same night.

Holding the position only since November, Austin was a probationary employee so there was no contract broken but he will be paid through June 30, said RLA board president Mark Ensley.

The RLA board vote was 8-0 with one abstention, he said, adding the board does not give reasons for release of a probationary employee.

Teachers, parents and students of RLA have been split between support and criticism of Austin's abilities as a principal as seen in recent emotional meetings before the board.

The academy is a dual language immersion school based on the former Rio Altura School campus that teaches students to read, write and talk in both English and Spanish. Sponsored by the Riverbank Unified School District, it has considerable autonomy in its teaching methods but its board is advisory only to the Riverbank Unified School District board when it comes to staffing and finance.

The previous principal, Bill Redford, who helped found the school, resigned last year to take a job outside the district.