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Decision No. 16,344

Appeal of TODD J. MITCHELL from action of the Board of Education of the Schroon Lake Central School District regarding a coaching appointment.

Decision No. 16,344

(March 30, 2012)

Girvin & Ferlazzo, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Kristine Amodeo Lanchantin, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges a coaching appointment by the Board of Education of the Schroon Lake Central School District (“respondent”).  The appeal must be dismissed.

In September 2010, respondent sought applicants to coach its Boys Modified Basketball team for the 2010-2011 season.  Petitioner applied for the position and was interviewed on October 14, 2010.  Petitioner holds a professional basketball coaching certificate and coached basketball for respondent in prior years.  Another individual, Richard Hall, also applied for the position and, at that time, held a temporary coaching license.  No certified teachers applied for the coaching position.

In November 2010, respondent appointed Mr. Hall to coach the Boys Modified Basketball team for the upcoming season.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on November 12, 2010.

Petitioner claims that, because he held a professional coaching certificate, he should have been appointed to the coaching position instead of Mr. Hall, who held a temporary coaching license.

Respondent contends that it properly appointed Mr. Hall to the coaching position.  Respondent also contends that the appeal must be dismissed for failure to join a necessary party and for failure to properly serve the petition.

Before addressing the merits, I will first address several procedural matters.  The purpose of a reply is to respond to new material or affirmative defenses set forth in an answer (8 NYCRR §§275.3 and 275.14).  A reply is not meant to buttress allegations in the petition or to belatedly add assertions that should have been in the petition (Appeal of Caswell, 48 Ed Dept Rep 472, Decision No. 15,920; Appeal of Hinson, 48 id. 437, Decision No. 15,908; Appeal of Baez, 48 id. 418, Decision No. 15,901).  Therefore, while I have reviewed the reply, I have not considered those portions containing new allegations or exhibits that are not responsive to new material or affirmative defenses set forth in the answer.

The appeal must be dismissed for failure to join Richard Hall as a party.  A party whose rights would be adversely affected by a determination of an appeal in favor of a petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of Murray, 48 Ed Dept Rep 517, Decision No. 15,934; Appeal of Miller, 48 id. 465, Decision No. 15,917; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879).  Joinder requires that an individual be clearly named as a respondent in the caption and served with a copy of the notice of petition and petition to inform the individual that he or she should respond to the petition and enter a defense (Appeal of Murray, 48 Ed Dept Rep 517, Decision No. 15,934; Appeal of Miller, 48 id. 465, Decision No. 15,917; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879).

As relief, petitioner seeks an order rescinding respondent’s appointment of Mr. Hall as coach and appointing petitioner instead.  A decision in petitioner’s favor clearly would adversely affect Mr. Hall.  Consequently, Mr. Hall is a necessary party to the appeal, and should have been joined.  Petitioner’s failure to do so warrants dismissal.

The appeal must also 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).  The basketball season at issue commenced in November 2010.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied shortly thereafter and the season has ended.  Therefore, the appeal is moot.

In view of the above disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE.