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Decision No. 17,501

Appeal of JASON SCHECHTER, on behalf of his daughter ILEXA, from action of the Board of Education of the Harrison Central School District regarding the distribution of textbooks.

Appeal of JASON SCHECHTER, on behalf of his daughter LARA, from action of the Board of Education of the Harrison Central School District regarding the distribution of textbooks.

Decision No. 17,501

(September 7, 2018)

Shaw, Perelson, May & Lambert, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Margo L. May, Esq., of counsel

ELIA, Commissioner.--In two separate appeals, petitioner challenges the decision of the Board of Education of the Harrison Central School District (“respondent”) pertaining to the loan of textbooks to his two daughters, Ilexa and Lara (“the students”).  Because the appeals raise common issues of law and fact, they are consolidated for decision.  The appeals must be dismissed.

At all times relevant to these appeals, petitioner and the students resided in respondent’s district and the students attended a nonpublic school. 

By forms dated May 26, 2017, and received by respondent on June 2, 2017, petitioner submitted “Textbook Loan Program Book Request[s],” on behalf of the students.[1]  The request for Ilexa included five textbooks, one study guide and eight novels, and the request for Lara included five textbooks and six novels.

By letters dated August 1, 2017, respondent’s senior purchase clerk notified petitioner of which books would be supplied through the textbook loan program – four textbooks from Ilexa’s request were available and five textbooks from Lara’s request were available.  Petitioner’s request for the study guide, fourteen novels, and organic chemistry textbook was denied.  These appeals ensued.  Petitioner’s requests for interim relief were denied on September 19, 2017.      

Petitioner argues that the district is not providing textbooks to his daughters on an equitable basis to students attending the public schools of respondent’s district.  Petitioner requests a determination that his daughters are “entitled to receive all textbooks (free of charge) necessary to perform in [their] required courses ....”

Respondent contends that the appeals must be dismissed because petitioner has failed to meet his burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested.

The appeals 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 challenges respondent’s failure to purchase and loan the requested textbooks in the 2017-2018 school year.  Since the 2017-2018 school year has ended, petitioner’s claims relating to such school year are moot (see e.g. Appeals of McLoughlin and Wood, 55 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 16,886).

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

THE APPEALS ARE DISMISSED.

END OF FILE

 

[1] According to respondent, upon review of the book lists submitted by petitioner, it realized that petitioner had inadvertently submitted the same list of books for both of his daughters.  On July 12, 2017, petitioner submitted a corrected list of books for Lara, which respondent accepted notwithstanding the July 3 deadline for submission.