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Decision No. 15,699

Appeal of GEORGE R. HUBBARD from action of the Board of Education of the Greece Central School District regarding financial practices.

Decision No. 15,699

(December 21, 2007)

Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, attorneys for respondent, Bethany A. Centrone, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges certain actions of the Board of Education of the Greece Central School District (“respondent”) regarding the adoption and filing of the 2007-2008 property tax report card.  The appeal must be dismissed.

On April 3, 2007, respondent adopted its 2007-2008 budget resolution.  The budget resolution did not contain a provision approving the district’s property tax report card.  The district submitted its property tax report card to the New York State Education Department (“SED”) on April 17, 2007.

On May 15, 2007, the district held its annual budget vote at which the voters defeated the proposed budget.  On May 22, 2007, respondent adopted a contingency budget for the 2007-2008 school year.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner contends that respondent failed to approve the 2007-2008 property tax report card and therefore improperly submitted it to SED.  He asserts that respondent’s failure was willful because this issue was the subject of an earlier Commissioner’s appeal (seeAppeal of Hubbard, 44 Ed Dept Rep 375, Decision No. 15,204).  Petitioner requests that respondent approve the 2007-2008 property tax report card and asks that I direct respondent to timely approve and file appropriate property tax report cards in the future.

Respondent admits that it did not approve the property tax report card at its April 3, 2007 meeting, and states that it inadvertently omitted approval of the property tax report card from the agenda.  Respondent contends that the appeal is moot because at its June 12, 2007 meeting, it retroactively approved the property tax report card, even though the budget had been defeated.  Respondent also contends that the appeal is untimely because it submitted the property tax report card to SED on April 17, 2007 and the appeal was commenced more than 30 days later on May 18, 2007.

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 C.A., Sr., 45 Ed Dept Rep 388, Decision No. 15,360; Appeal of the New York Charter Schools Assn., Inc., et al., 45 id. 376, Decision No. 15,355; Appeal of the Bd. of Trustees of the N. Merrick Public Library, et al., 45 id. 363, Decision No. 15,350).  The record indicates that the voters rejected respondent’s initial budget proposal, and that respondent subsequently adopted a contingency budget.  Nevertheless, I remind respondent, as I did in the earlier appeal (Appeal of Hubbard, 44 Ed Dept Rep 375, Decision No. 15,204), that Education Law §1716(7)(b) requires board approval of a property tax report card prior to it being forwarded to SED.  I admonish respondent to fully comply with all aspects of Education Law §1716(7) in the future.  Moreover, the board should take note that repeated violations by it of statutory requirements can give rise to a proceeding pursuant to Education Law §306; compliance with the Education Law and Commissioner’s decisions is not optional.

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

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE