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Decision No. 16,339

Appeal of A.B. from action of the Board of Education of the East Greenbush Central School District regarding residency and transportation.

Decision No. 16,339

(March 29, 2012)

Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett & Reitz, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Susan T. Johns, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the East Greenbush Central School District (“respondent”) that she is not a homeless unaccompanied youth within the meaning of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act (42 USC §11431 etseq., “McKinney-Vento”) and, therefore, is not entitled to attend the district’s schools or receive transportation.  The appeal must be dismissed. 

During the 2010-2011 school year, petitioner resided with her family in the Stillwater Central School District where she attended high school. According to the petition, A.B. and her family moved to Stillwater when she was 15 years old, but she never fully assimilated into the community.  This allegedly resulted in A.B.’s frequent absences from school and poor performance in most of her classes.

In June 2011, petitioner went to stay in Troy with her aunt, within respondent’s district, because there were better summer job opportunities there.  According to the petition, at the end of the summer, petitioner’s mother permitted her to continue residing with her aunt because she had thrived there.  In addition, petitioner’s aunt could provide more adult supervision and structure during the school year than her mother could, due to her mother’s work schedule. 

On August 22, 2011, petitioner’s aunt attempted to register her in respondent’s district.  By letter dated August 30, 2011, the superintendent notified petitioner’s aunt of her determination that petitioner was not a district resident and, therefore, was not entitled to attend respondent’s schools.

Subsequently, petitioner’s aunt claimed that petitioner was a homeless unaccompanied youth because she had left her family’s residence due to alleged abuse and/or neglect.  By letter dated September 21, 2011, the superintendent informed petitioner’s aunt of her determination that petitioner was not a homeless unaccompanied youth and that she was not entitled to attend respondent’s schools and would be excluded from attendance effective October 23, 2011.  This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on October 31, 2011. 

Petitioner contends that she is a homeless unaccompanied youth within the meaning of McKinney-Vento and, therefore, is entitled to attend respondent’s schools and receive transportation.  Respondent denies these contentions.

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 a Student with a Disability, 48 Ed Dept Rep 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; Appeal of Embro, 48 id. 204, Decision No. 15,836).

On January 6, 2012, respondent submitted an affidavit by its superintendent stating that the Rensselaer County Family Court had issued an order awarding petitioner’s aunt joint custody of petitioner and, as a result, petitioner was admitted to respondent’s schools as a district resident.  Consequently, the issues raised in the appeal are academic and the matter is moot.

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

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE