This Day In History: 1958-02-04
The resignations of Mahwah’s Superintendent of Schools and prospective High School Principal were presented at the Board of Education meeting. This seemingly brought to an end the stormy career of Dr. Roy Austin and his administrative assistance Dr. Albert F. Carpenter. Tension over Dr. Austin’s job went back to April 1954 when the Board voted 5 to 4 not to renew his contract. This had resulted in a complete revolution in the Board. Most of the majority members were defeated for reelection and replaced by Austin supporters. The State Education Commissioner had ruled that Austin had tenure and could not be replaced. Trouble boiled up suddenly at a public hearing on the budget only a week before the resignation. A proposal to raise Austin’s salary from $10,000 to $10,500 was defeated, again by a 5-4 vote. There was much indignation that so sensitive a matter be discussed in public session. The Mahwah Teacher’s Association protested at the next Board meeting, praising Austin and objecting to the “public exhibition” as demeaning to his office. Board President Howard Avery stated that it was not the Board’s policy to discuss personal matters in public session, but that it was impossible to control what happened at a public meeting. Austin’s resignation was to take effect on April 15th.