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Decision No. 13,657

Appeal of WILLIAM DEMPSEY from action of the Wappingers Central School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 13,657

(August 26, 1996)

Issler & Schrage, L.L.P., attorneys for petitioner, Antonios G. Daskalakis, Esq., of counsel

Michael K. Lambert, Esq., attorney for respondent

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Wappingers Central School District ("respondent") that his son, William, is not a resident of the district and therefore not entitled to attend the district's schools. The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 1995-96 school year, William lived with his aunt and uncle in the district and attended respondent's Van Wyck Junior High School. On or about April 30, 1996, William's aunt and uncle advised the school's principal that William no longer resided with them and was residing with his mother in the Bronx. Petitioner requested that respondent allow William to remain in the district until the end of the school year. By letter dated May 3, 1996, respondent's superintendent denied petitioner's request and notified him that William would be excluded from the district's schools as of May 8, 1996. This appeal ensued. On June 3, 1996, I granted petitioner's request for interim relief pending a determination on the merits.

Respondent contends that this appeal must be dismissed as moot. It is not clear from the petition, however, that petitioner only requests that his son be allowed to attend the district's schools until the completion of the 1995-96 school year. To the extent that petitioner requests an order permitting his son to remain in the district beyond the end of the 1995-96 school year, the appeal is not moot.

Nonetheless, the appeal must be dismissed on the merits.

Education Law '3202(1) provides, in pertinent part:

A person over five and under twenty-one years of age who has not received a high school diploma is entitled to attend the public schools maintained in the district in which such person resides without the payment of tuition.

The purpose of this statute is to limit the obligation of school districts to provide tuition-free education to those students whose parents or legal guardians reside within the district (Appeal of Curtin, 27 Ed Dept Rep 446; Matter of Buglione, 14 id. 220).

In this case, petitioner admits that William resides with his mother outside the district. Accordingly, William is not entitled to attend respondent's schools on a tuition-free basis.

Moreover, there is nothing in respondent's admissions policy which would permit William to continue attending the district's schools. Respondent's policy allows a student to complete grade 12 without the payment of tuition if the student moves out of the district while in the 12th grade. That policy, however, is inapplicable to William since he is not a 12th grade student. Furthermore, respondent's policy provides that non-resident students are not accepted into the schools of the district except by specific action by the board. In this case, there has been no specific action of the board allowing William to attend the district's schools. Accordingly, respondent's determination will not be set aside.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE