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Decision No. 15,937

Appeal of M.M., on behalf of his son J.M., from action of the Board of Education of the Williamsville Central School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 15,937

(June 26, 2009)

Norton/Radin/Hoover/Freedman, attorneys for respondent, Andrew J. Freedman, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Williamsville Central School District (“respondent”) that his son, J.M., is not homeless within the meaning of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvement Act (42 USC §§11431 etseq., “McKinney-Vento”) and, therefore, is not entitled to attend the district’s schools.  The appeal must be dismissed.

At the start of the 2008-2009 school year, petitioner and J.M. resided on Teakwood Terrace within the district, and J.M. was enrolled in the district’s schools.  According to petitioner, sometime during the school year, he and J.M. left the Teakwood Terrace residence.

In response to the district’s request for proof of residency, petitioner indicated that he and J.M. were residing with J.M.’s grandparents in Cheektowaga, outside the district.  Petitioner claimed that they were forced to leave the Teakwood Terrace residence because of his wife’s abuse, that he still paid the bills for that residence and that he intended to regain possession of the residence through divorce proceedings.

By letter dated January 8, 2009, the district advised petitioner that J.M. was not a district resident and that he would be excluded from respondent’s schools.  Petitioner responded by claiming that J.M. is homeless.  By determination letter dated January 23, 2009, the district advised petitioner that it did not consider J.M. to be homeless.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on February 3, 2009.

Petitioner contends that J.M. is a homeless child within the meaning of McKinney-Vento and requests an order directing respondent to continue J.M.’s enrollment in its schools for the remainder of the 2008-2009 school year.  Respondent contends that J.M. is not entitled to attend the district’s schools because he is not homeless within the meaning of McKinney-Vento and Education Law §3209.

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 Tine, 46 Ed Dept Rep 579, Decision No. 15,600; Appeal of N.C., 46 id. 358, Decision No. 15,532; Appeal of Lombardo, 46 id. 282, Decision No. 15,508).  The only relief petitioner seeks in this appeal is an order directing respondent to continue J.M.’s enrollment in the district’s schools for the remainder of the 2008-2009 school.  Since the 2008-2009 school year has ended, the matter is moot and the appeal must be dismissed.

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

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE