Decision No. 17,478
Appeal of DELIA SCARPETTA, on behalf of her daughter HAILEE, from action of the Board of Education of the Sachem Central School District regarding residency.
Decision No. 17,478
(August 13, 2018)
Ingerman Smith LLP, attorneys for respondent, Steven A. Goodstadt, Esq., of counsel
ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Sachem Central School District (“respondent”) that her daughter (“the student”) is not a district resident. The appeal must be dismissed.
Petitioner registered the student in respondent’s schools on August 29, 2012. At that time, petitioner and the student resided at a location within respondent’s district (the “in-district address”).
On March 15, 2018, the district’s attendance teacher received information that petitioner and the student had moved out of the in-district address and now resided at a residence located outside of respondent’s district (the “out-of-district address”).
Subsequently, respondent’s attendance teacher contacted petitioner, who admitted that she and the student resided at the out-of-district address. An inquiry by the attendance teacher to the town assessor indicated that petitioner and her husband owned and paid taxes on the out-of-district address, and a review of records maintained by an internet search engine indicated that the out-of-district address was last sold in 2008.
By letter dated March 15, 2018, respondent’s attendance teacher informed petitioner that the student would be excluded from respondent’s schools at the close of school on March 29, 2018. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on April 4, 2018.
Petitioner admits that she and the student no longer reside within respondent’s district but requests that I allow the student to attend respondent’s schools until the conclusion of the 2017-2018 school year.
Respondent asserts that the appeal must be dismissed as moot based upon events which occurred after the filing of the petition. Petitioner further argues that the appeal must be dismissed as petitioner admits that she and the student are not residents of its district.
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 Sutton, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,331; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937).
Petitioner’s sole request for relief is that the student be allowed to attend respondent’s schools “for the remainder of the current school year (June 2018) ....” Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on April 4, 2018, which permitted the student to attend respondent’s schools pending a final decision in this matter. The 2017-2018 school year concluded shortly thereafter. Accordingly, petitioner has received all of the relief which she requested, and the appeal must be dismissed as moot (Appeal of J.S., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,134).
The appeal is additionally moot because the record reflects that petitioner voluntarily withdrew the student from respondent’s schools. According to respondent, on April 9, 2018, petitioner submitted a completed “withdrawal request” which indicated that the student would be enrolled in a middle school located within a different school district. Thus, although entitled to remain enrolled in respondent’s schools pursuant to the April 4, 2018 stay order, it appears that petitioner instead withdrew the student from respondent’s district. Therefore, based upon the student’s voluntary withdrawal from respondent’s schools, I find that the matter of the student’s residency in respondent’s district has been rendered academic. Therefore, no meaningful relief may be granted and the appeal must be dismissed.
Although the appeal must be dismissed for the reasons described above, I note that petitioner, should she return to respondent’s district, has the right to reapply for admission on behalf of her child at any time and to submit any documentary evidence for respondent’s consideration.
In light of this determination, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
END OF FILE