In a February 1 phone call, Sweetwater Union High School District spokesperson Manny Rubio acknowledged that the district has hired Dr. Albert Alt as their new CFO. Rubio said Alt was selected after “a couple rounds of interviews.”
Following the first round, Rubio added, the finalists were brought back for additional interviews with superintendent Ed Brand, interim chief financial officer Rick Knott, and other administrators. Rubio was uncertain who sat on the initial interview panel.
Alt will begin work on February 11, according to Rubio, and Knott will stay on until the end of the month to assist in the transition.
Alt comes to Sweetwater from the Yuba Community College District, where he began serving as director of human resources in 2003 and was promoted to vice chancellor of administrative services in 2009.
Alt reportedly had a troubled tenure in both capacities.
According to a May 2012 article on Appeal-Democrat.com, Alt’s position was abruptly eliminated. A chancellor for the district, Doug Houston, told Appeal-Democrat that the move was partially due to re-organization but “there were also personnel issues in play” that prevented him from commenting further.
Like too many California school districts, the Yuba district borrowed costly money under their $190 million construction measure J. According to a September Daily Democrat piece, the district borrowed $4.6 million as a capital appreciation bond in April 2011. The loan will eventually cost the taxpayers $54.2 million.
Some of the district’s trustees said they were not fully apprised of the terms of the loan. Trustee Jim Kennedy told the Daily Democrat that he “blamed two former district executives, Chancellor Nicki Harrington and ousted Vice Chancellor Al Alt, for not keeping trustees informed on what they were voting for.”
In 2008, while acting as director of human resources, Alt had a problem as a result of taking his doctorate from Madison University — an unaccredited university.
A 2008 article in Inside Higher Ed tells the story: “Among Al Alt's duties at Yuba College is making sure the degrees are legitimate — at the point of hire, or when professors or others at the California community college file the paperwork to qualify for higher pay based on earning a new degree.
“Over the past few years, Alt has learned the various places one can reliably check to be sure an institution is accredited by a recognized agency— one of the key requirements at Yuba and most colleges to get credit for a degree. But in a sign of how widespread the problem may be with unaccredited degrees, Alt last year had to tell his bosses to lower his own salary: A doctorate he earned after he started work at Yuba — and for which he was paid extra — apparently came from an unaccredited institution, he said, so his salary needed to be cut.”
An online search shows that Alt has subsequently sought another degree in education from Drexel University.