Decision No. 15,833
Appeal of TANYA MARQUETTE, EDGAR RODRIGUEZ, GOWRI PARAMESWARAN and REBECCA ROTZLER from actions of the Board of Education of the New Paltz Central School District and Maria Rice, Superintendent, relating to shared decision-making.
Decision No. 15,833
(October 1, 2008)
Michael H. Sussman, Esq., attorney for petitioners
Shaw & Perelson, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Margo L. May, Esq., of counsel
MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal the actions of the Board of Education of the New Paltz Central School District (“board”) and its superintendent (collectively referred to as “respondents”) regarding shared decision-making. The appeal must be dismissed.
On January 21, 1998, the board adopted a plan for shared decision-making (“the plan”), which established a district-wide committee (“DWC”). Petitioners are elected representatives of the DWC. As part of its biennial review, at a board meeting held on March 22, 2006, the board recertified the plan, in accordance with §100.11 of the Commissioner’s regulations. By email dated October 19, 2006, the superintendent advised petitioners that the board was suspending DWC meetings until its December 6, 2006 meeting, when a decision would be made regarding the future and vitality of the plan and the DWC. This appeal ensued. Petitioners’ request for interim relief was denied on November 22, 2006.
Petitioners allege that respondents’ decision to suspend DWC meetings was arbitrary and capricious and violated §100.11 of the Commissioner’s regulations.
Respondents allege that the decision to cease DWC meetings was not arbitrary or capricious. Respondents further allege that the appeal must be dismissed as moot and that portions of the appeal are untimely. Respondents also claim that the Commissioner does not have the authority to issue declaratory rulings or advisory opinions.
At the outset, petitioners request that I consider their letter dated April 23, 2007, wherein petitioners challenge respondent’s actions at a DWC meeting held on March 22, 2007. Additional affidavits, exhibits and other supporting papers may only be submitted with the prior permission of the Commissioner (8 NYCRR §276.5). While this provision permits the submission of additional evidence, it cannot be used to add new claims against a respondent for which notice has not been provided (Appeals of Madison and Maudlin, 45 Ed Dept Rep 415, Decision No. 15,370; Appeal of Rubinstein, 45 id. 299, Decision No. 15,329; Appeal of Andrews, et al., 45 id. 248, Decision No. 15,312). I will not accept materials that raise new issues and introduce new exhibits that are not relevant to the claims originally raised in the appeal (Appeals of Madison and Maudlin, 45 Ed Dept Rep 415, Decision No. 15,370; Appeal of Rubinstein, 45 id. 299, Decision No. 15,329; Appeal of Andrews, et al., 45 id. 248, Decision No. 15,312). Since the April 23, 2007 letter raises new claims about subsequent events, I have not considered the letter in this appeal.
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). By a resolution adopted November 15, 2006, respondents rescinded their prior action to cease meetings of the DWC. In light of the foregoing, the appeal must be dismissed as moot.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
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