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Decision No. 14,800

Appeal of J.F., on behalf of her daughter, from action of the Board of Education of the North Shore Central School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 14,800

(August 27, 2002)

Rains and Pogrebin, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Sharon N. Berlin, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the North Shore Central School District ("respondent") that her daughter is not a district resident. The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2001-2002 school year, district officials received information that petitioner no longer resided within respondent"s district. Respondent"s attendance officer conducted an investigation and learned that petitioner and her husband sold their home in respondent"s district in February 2001. Petitioner met with respondent"s attendance officer in December 2001 to discuss her change of address. At the meeting, petitioner informed the attendance officer that she and her husband had separated and that she intended to continue residing in the district but that arrangements had not yet been made. Respondent"s attendance officer asked petitioner to complete an affidavit of residency and to provide additional evidence of residency. In January of 2002, petitioner provided a copy of a lease for an apartment located in the district. Respondent"s attendance officer questioned petitioner regarding the validity of the lease because it did not contain certain essential terms, including the amount of the rental charge. On January 28, 2002, respondent"s attendance officer visited petitioner"s purported apartment within the district and found no evidence that petitioner resided there.

By letter dated February 25, 2002, respondent"s attendance officer again requested that petitioner submit evidence of residency. In March 2002, petitioner provided him with a copy of a canceled check allegedly representing her February rent for the apartment. Respondent questioned the validity of the check because it appeared to have been written in the amount of $500 and then subsequently altered to read $1500. The bank routing numbers indicate that the check was cashed for $500.

In March of 2002, respondent"s superintendent met with petitioner to discuss her residency. Petitioner did not provide additional evidence of residency. By letter dated April 12, 2002, respondent notified petitioner of its determination that her daughter was not a district resident and was no longer entitled to attend its schools as of April 19, 2002. Petitioner commenced this appeal and requested interim relief. By letter dated May 9, 2002, respondent informed my Counsel"s office that it would allow petitioner"s daughter to complete the 2001-2002 school year, rendering the request for interim relief moot.

Petitioner seeks a determination that her daughter is a district resident and is entitled to attend respondent"s schools tuition-free. Respondent maintains that petitioner and her daughter are not district residents.

As a procedural matter, I note that by letter dated June 28, 2002, respondent requested permission to submit a supplemental affidavit from respondent"s superintendent pursuant to "276.5 of the Commissioner"s regulations. The affidavit describes a meeting between petitioner and respondent"s superintendent during which petitioner indicates that she enrolled her daughter in a school within the Glen Cove Central School District for the 2002-2003 school year. By letter dated August 5, 2002, my Office of Counsel afforded petitioner the opportunity to serve an affidavit in response to respondent"s supplemental affidavit. Petitioner has failed to submit an affidavit contesting the information contained within respondent"s supplemental affidavit. Since the event described in respondent"s supplemental affidavit occurred after the submission of its answer and is directly related to the issue in this appeal, I have accepted it pursuant to "276.5.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot. It is well settled that the Commissioner of Education will only consider matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Bazemore, 41 Ed Dep Rep ___, Decision No. 14,742; Appeal of Cox, 41 id. ___, Decision No. 14,609). Since petitioner has not disputed the assertion that she has enrolled her daughter in the Glen Cove Central School District for the 2002-2003 school year, the instant appeal has been rendered moot.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE