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Decision No. 15,034

Appeal of INTERNATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL OF SCHENECTADY from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Schenectady regarding transportation.

 

 

(March 16, 2004)

 

Gordon, Siegel, Mastro, Mullaney, Gordon & Galvin, P.C., attorneys for petitioner, Harold D. Gordon and Melanie J. LaFond, Esqs., of counsel

Shaw & Perelson, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Marc E. Sharff, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner, the International Charter School of Schenectady, challenges the refusal of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Schenectady ("respondent") to change the transportation pick-up and drop-off times for petitioner"s students.  The appeal must be dismissed.

In July 2003, petitioner"s director requested that respondent change the pick-up and drop-off times for petitioner"s students to accommodate petitioner"s hours of operation.  In August 2003, respondent denied the request.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner"s request for interim relief was denied on August 28, 2003.

Petitioner contends that respondent has not cooperated with petitioner to develop a transportation schedule and that the requested transportation change would not cause respondent to incur additional costs. 

Respondent contends that petitioner does not have standing to maintain this appeal and that the transportation request was not timely.  Respondent also asserts that it acted reasonably in denying the transportation request and that the requested change would cause it to incur additional costs. 

The appeal must be dismissed for lack of standing.  A party may not maintain an appeal unless aggrieved in the sense that it has suffered personal damage to its civil, personal or property rights  (Appeal of Lucente, 39 Ed Dept Rep 244, Decision No. 14,227). Only persons who are directly affected by the action being appealed have standing to bring an appeal (Appeal of Lucente, supra). 

A charter school is deemed a nonpublic school for purposes of transportation requests (Education Law "2853[4][b]; Appeal of New Covenant Charter School, 41 Ed Dept Rep 358, Decision No. 14,713; Appeal of New Covenant Charter School, 39 id. 610, Decision No. 14,327).  In Appeal of Lucente, supra, I determined that a principal of a nonpublic school has no legal interest in whether the school"s students are provided with transportation and may not maintain an action based on alleged injuries to the students. I further determined that the principal failed to otherwise demonstrate that the school district"s failure to provide transportation caused any legal injury to him personally or to the rights or property of the nonpublic school.  Similarly, petitioner has failed to establish that respondent"s actions have caused legal injury to petitioner or its property.  Accordingly, I find that petitioner lacks standing to maintain this appeal.

Although neither party refers to my decisions in Appeal of New Covenant Charter School, 41 Ed Dept Rep 358, Decision No. 14,713 and Appeal of New Covenant Charter School, 39 id. 610, Decision No. 14,327, those appeals are clearly distinguishable on the issue of standing.  In both New Covenant appeals, the petitioner charter school alleged that the respondent board of education improperly refused to provide transportation to some of the charter school"s students, but neither appeal was dismissed on standing grounds.  In those appeals, the respondent did not raise lack of standing as a defense, the parties agreed that an appeal to the Commissioner was the appropriate forum to resolve the transportation disputes, and the petitioner alleged specific injuries to the charter school which have not been alleged by the petitioner in the present case.  For example, in Appeal of New Covenant Charter School, 39 id. 610, Decision No. 14,327, the charter school alleged that the school district improperly deducted transportation costs from the funds owed to the charter school pursuant to Education Law " 2856.

In light of the foregoing disposition, I need not consider the parties" remaining contentions. 

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE