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Decision No. 15,349

Appeal of KALMAN WEBER from action of the Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District and the Board of Trustees of the Finkelstein Memorial Library regarding a library bond vote.

Decision No. 15349

(January 24, 2006)

Greenberg, Wanderman & Fromson, attorneys for respondent Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District, Stephen M. Fromson, Esq., of counsel

O'Connell & Riley, Esqs., attorneys for respondent Board of Trustees of the Finkelstein Memorial Library, James K. Riley, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges actions of the Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District ("school board") and the Board of Trustees of the Finkelstein Memorial Library ("library board") regarding the conduct of a library bond referendum. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner is a resident of the East Ramapo Central School District, ("East Ramapo"). For school district election purposes, East Ramapo is divided into 10 election districts. Finkelstein Memorial Library is a school district public library which serves the residents of East Ramapo.

By resolution dated July 27, 2004, the library board requested that the school board conduct a bond referendum for construction of an addition to the library, with such referendum to be held at the library. At a meeting held on September 7, 2004, the school board resolved to conduct a special district meeting at the library on October 26, 2004 for the purpose of voting on the library bond proposal. This appeal ensued. Petitioner's request for interim relief was denied on October 7, 2004.

Petitioner objects to the use of only one polling place and contends that respondents were required to use the 10 school district polling places established pursuant to Education Law �2017(2). Petitioner requests that I nullify the school board's resolution calling for the October 26, 2004 special meeting and that I ban respondents from incurring any expenses or obligations pursuant to any favorable vote on the library bond proposition.

Respondents contend that, pursuant to Education Law �260(11), it was not necessary to have more than one polling place.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot. The Commissioner will only decide 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 B.K. and R.K., 44 Ed Dept Rep 195, Decision No. 15,146; Appeal of V.L., 44 id. 160, Decision No. 15,132; Appeal of Garvin, 44 id. 30, Decision No. 15,087). By letter dated October 28, 2004, the school board notified my Office of Counsel that the special district meeting had been held and the proposition had been defeated, effectively satisfying petitioner's request for relief.

Even if it were not moot, the appeal would be dismissed on the merits. Petitioner argues that, in a school district public library election held pursuant to Education Law �260(10), it is actually the school board that conducts the election and, therefore, the provisions of Education Law �2017(2) regarding election districts are applicable. However, Education Law �260(10) must be read in conjunction with �260(9) and �260(11). Subdivision (10) gives a school district public library board the authority to determine the need for construction of library facilities and to compel a board of education to conduct a special district meeting to seek voter approval for financing such construction. That subdivision states that a special district meeting for such purposes must be held in accordance with subdivision (9).

Subdivision (9) gives a school district public library board the authority to give notice of and conduct a special district meeting of the qualified voters of the school district for any proper library purpose "at a time andplace designated by . . . [the library] board" (emphasis added). Subdivision (11) specifies that any election held pursuant to subdivision (9) shall be noticed and conducted in the same manner as school district elections " except that the meeting need not, in the discretion of the board of trustees of the library, be held in separate election districts in those school districts where election districts have been established by the board of education."

In this instance, the library board resolved to have a referendum, compelled the school board to conduct it, and specified the polling place in its resolution. Under these circumstances, and because of the interplay between subdivisions (9), (10) and (11) of Education Law �260, it was not necessary to use the school district election district polling places.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE