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Decision No. 15,592

Appeal of B.M., on behalf of her nephew L.C., from action of the Board of Education of the Rush-Henrietta Central School District regarding grading.

Decision No. 15,592

(June 12, 2007)

DesMarteau and Beale, attorneys for respondent, George DesMarteau, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Rush-Henrietta Central School District (“respondent”) regarding her nephew’s grades.  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2006-2007 school year, petitioner’s nephew, L.C., was a senior in respondent’s district.  On or about September 11, 2006, he was suspended for alleged misconduct.  During L.C.’s suspension, petitioner regularly contacted school officials to obtain L.C.’s assignments.  The parties disagree as to whether the assignments were timely provided to petitioner and whether L.C. completed all assignments.  The parties also disagree as to whether L.C. was assigned to a tutoring center and provided with adequate alternative education during his suspension.  In November 2006, L.C. received a first quarter grade of 71 in math B2.  Petitioner repeatedly met with school officials to discuss L.C.’s assignments and what she viewed as a miscalculation of L.C.’s first quarter math B2 grade.  School officials and the superintendent declined to recalculate the grade.

On or about December 11 and 16, 2006, petitioner appealed the superintendent’s determination to respondent.  By letter dated December 19, 2006, the district clerk informed petitioner that respondent would review her appeal on January 9, 2007.  By letter dated January 18, 2007, the district clerk informed petitioner that her appeal was denied.  Subsequently, petitioner disputed L.C.’s second quarter math B2 grade.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on March 1, 2007.

Petitioner alleges that L.C.’s first quarter math grade suffered because school officials failed to provide and grade certain assignments.  Petitioner alleges that L.C.’s teacher improperly changed her grading policy mid-quarter and that this change negatively impacted L.C.  She alleges that the grading policy was inconsistent with district policies, procedures and regulations and was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.  Petitioner also contends that L.C.’s math teacher miscalculated his first and second quarter grades.  Petitioner further alleges that school officials were unresponsive to her request for information about L.C.  Finally, petitioner contends that L.C. was not provided with adequate alternative education.

Petitioner requests that L.C.’s grades be expunged and recalculated in accordance with the original grading policy, and that I order the district to cease modifying its grading practices without parent feedback and respondent’s approval.  Finally, petitioner requests that I order the district to provide students with appropriate alternative education.

Respondent contends that petitioner’s request for relief includes matters that are not justiciable, not in controversy and not ripe for appeal.

Decisions regarding student grading rest initially with the classroom teacher and ultimately with the board of education (see Education Law §§1709[3] and 1804; Appeal of Shaver, 38 Ed Dept Rep 570, Decision No. 14,096; Appeal of Krom, 37 id. 459, Decision No. 13,905).  When a student challenges a final grade, he or she bears the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested (Appeal of Shaver, 38 Ed Dept Rep 570, Decision No. 14,096; Appeal of Krom, 37 id. 459, Decision No. 13,905; Appeal of Marsha E., 35 id. 331, Decision No. 13,560).  Barring a showing that a grade determination was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable, it will not be set aside (Appeal of Shaver, 38 Ed Dept Rep 570, Decision No. 14,096; Appeal of Krom, 37 id. 459, Decision No. 13,905; Appeal of Baker-Stein, 37 id. 401, Decision No. 13,889).

L.C.’s teacher avers that she personally provided the required coursework to both L.C. and petitioner on multiple occasions, and that L.C. either did not complete the work or turn it in during the relevant marking period.  L.C.’s teacher also avers that she did not alter her grading policy or apply it incorrectly.  She states that on one occasion she did misapply the grading policy on an interim report but that the interim report played no part in the calculation of L.C.’s final first quarter grade.  Finally, L.C.’s teacher avers that she fully reviewed the grades assigned to L.C.’s work in concert with the school principal, head of the math department and the superintendent and that she determined, on each occasion, that the relevant grading policy was properly applied and that L.C.’s first quarter grade was accurately entered on his report card.  Although petitioner submits her own calculation of L.C’s first quarter grade, based upon her own understanding of the course grading policy, this calculation does not substantiate petitioner’s claim that L.C.’s grade was miscalculated.  Moreover, petitioner has provided only an unsubstantiated allegation that L.C.’s second quarter math B2 grade was inaccurate or miscalculated.  On the record before me, I find that petitioner has failed to demonstrate that L.C.’s first and second quarter math B2 grades were arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable.

In an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and the burden of establishing the facts upon which petitioner seeks relief (8 NYCRR §275.10; Appeal of Hoey and Kosowski, 45 Ed Dept Rep 501, Decision No. 15,394; Application of Bliss, 45 id. 308, Decision No. 15,331; Appeal of Rubinstein, 45 id. 299, Decision No. 15,329).  Petitioner has failed to provide any proof to establish that L.C. was not provided with adequate alternative education.  Accordingly, her claims regarding alternative instruction must be dismissed.

In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE