Decision No. 18,214
Appeal of V.B., on behalf of his child, from action of the Board of Education of the Sachem Central School District regarding denial of admission.
Decision No. 18,214
(December 5, 2022)
Ingerman Smith, L.L.P., attorneys for respondent, Steven A. Goodstadt, Esq., of counsel
ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a determination of the Board of Education of the Sachem Central School District (“respondent”) denying his son (the “student”) permission to enroll in kindergarten for the 2022-2023 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.
By letter dated April 18, 2022, petitioner requested that respondent enroll the student in kindergarten for the 2022-2023 school year. While petitioner acknowledged that the student “misse[d] the district’s age eligibility [cutoff] by eight days,” he asserted that the student was “ready academically, socially, physically, and emotionally ….” The superintendent denied this request by letter dated May 19, 2022. Petitioner appealed this determination to respondent, which upheld the superintendent’s decision. This appeal ensued.
Petitioner argues that the student’s preschool experience has adequately prepared him for the district’s kindergarten program. In support of this contention, petitioner submits a letter from the owner of the student’s preschool program and a progress report for the 2021-2022 school year. Petitioner seeks a determination that the student is entitled to attend kindergarten in the 2022-2023 school year.
Respondent contends that it acted within its discretion in denying petitioner’s request.
Education Law § 3202 (1) provides, in pertinent part:
A person over five and under twenty-one years of age who has not received a high school diploma is entitled to attend the public schools maintained in the district in which such person resides without the payment of tuition … Nothing ... shall ... require a board of education to admit a child who becomes five years of age after the school year has commenced unless his [or her] birthday occurs on or before the first of December.”
Respondent’s policy 5140 incorporates the above requirements.
In an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and the burden of establishing the facts upon which petitioner seeks relief (8 NYCRR § 275.10; Appeal of Patton, et al., 42 Ed Dept Rep 226, Decision No. 14,832; Appeal of Pope, 40 id. 473, Decision No. 14,530).
The student was not entitled to enroll in respondent’s district for the 2022-2023 school year. By statute and board policy, the student would only be eligible if his birthday was on or before December 1, 2017. As petitioner admits, the student’s birthday caused him to “miss  the district’s age eligibility [cutoff] by eight days.” As such, respondent was not legally obligated to admit the student to kindergarten for the 2022-2023 school year (Appeal of Donets, 58 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,597; Appeal of Lee, 58 id., Decision No. 17,506; Appeal of L.T., 47 id. 23, Decision No. 15,609; Appeal of Sollitto, 31 id. 138, Decision No. 12,595). While a board of education may admit children at an earlier age in its discretion, a parent cannot compel such an exercise of discretion (Appeal of Donets, 58 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,597; Appeal of Lee, 58 id., Decision No. 17,506; Appeal of Sollitto, 31 id. 138, Decision No. 12,595).
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
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