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The Central Unified School Board on Tuesday placed Superintendent Andy Alvarado on paid administrative leave after he was arrested last week on a charge of domestic violence.

Central Unified also has launched an administrative investigation into the “off-duty alleged misconduct that has come to the district’s attention,” board President Yesenia Carrillo said.

The board’s decision was announced at the start of the public portion of the board meeting, which began more than an hour behind schedule. The board met in closed session before the announcement.

Alvarado was arrested late Thursday at his northwest Fresno home on suspicion of committing corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp announced Tuesday that a conflict of interest due to personal and professional relationships will prevent her office from proceeding in the case against Alvarado. The case has been handed over to the Madera County District Attorney’s Office, Smittcamp said. If there is a prosecution of Alvarado, the Madera County District Attorney will bring it to the Fresno County Superior Court.

Jeff Dupras, a Madera County assistant district attorney, said Wednesday there is no time frame yet for prosecutors to process the case, which he said is still in the hands of Fresno police.

Superintendent Since 2018

Alvarado has been Central’s superintendent since 2018. He replaced Mark Sutton, whose firing in 2018 led to trustee recall efforts.

Alvarado had formerly served as the superintendent of Golden Valley Unified in Madera County.

He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night. Later Thursday, Alvarado released the following statement:

“This is a personal and private matter, now playing out in public, that I take very seriously. I request that you honor me and my family’s privacy during this difficult time. I will continue to fully cooperate with Central Unified and law enforcement authorities as this plays out. I am confident that at the end of this process, I will be cleared and reinstated to my position. I look forward to returning to work and serving the Central Unified community.”

The board heard from one public speaker who urged the trustees to consider seeking Alvarado’s resignation — or his removal — for his alleged actions.

On Wednesday afternoon, the district announced that the board has scheduled a special meeting for 5 p.m. Thursday to appoint an acting superintendent. The meeting will be in the Central East High School Wayne “Hondo” Hodge Performing Arts Center, 3535 N. Cornelia Ave., Fresno.

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