Skip to main content

Decision No. 12,659

Appeal of the BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE WINDSOR CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT from a determination rendered by the chairperson of a hearing panel pursuant to Education Law '3020-a concerning charges against Michael Turco, a tenured teacher.

Decision No. 12,659

(March 5, 1992)

Hogan and Sarzynski, Esqs., attorneys for petitioner, Edward J. Sarzynski, Esq., of counsel

Bernard F. Ashe, Esq., attorney for respondent, Ivor R. Moskowitz, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner, the Board of Education of the Windsor Central School District, appeals from a determination of the chairperson of a hearing panel convened pursuant to Education Law '3020-a, dismissing without prejudice charges brought against respondent Turco. The appeal must be dismissed.

On or about April 18, 1991 petitioner filed charges against respondent Turco, a tenured physical education teacher employed by petitioner. The charges alleged that respondent was guilty of improper physical contact with four female students. The students were identified in the charges as A, B, C and D. The charges further indicated that the identity of the students would be supplied to respondent or his attorney upon written request.

Respondent moved to dismiss the charges, alleging that failure to set forth the identity of the students rendered the charges not sufficiently specific to enable him to adequately prepare a defense and denied him due process of law. In a decision dated September 20, 1991, the chairperson dismissed the charges without prejudice to the filing of more specific charges.

Petitioner seeks an order annulling the chairperson's determination and reinstating the charges. The Commissioner of Education decides only matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision concerning a controversy which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Scribani, 30 Ed Dept Rep 164; Appeal of Becker, 29 id. 419; Appeal of Vachon, 28 id. 276). The record indicates that subsequent to the decision of the chairperson, petitioner redrafted the charges with the names of the students supplied. The amended charges were served on respondent and the proceeding is in progress. In light of those events, it is apparent that no purpose is served by the reinstitution of the original charges, and this appeal is moot.

To the extent that petitioner seeks an advisory opinion about the degree of specificity required in drafting charges brought against a tenured teacher pursuant to Education Law '3020-a, the Commissioner does not issue advisory opinions in appeals brought pursuant to Education Law '310 (Application of a Child with a Handicapping Condition, 29 Ed Dept Rep 486; Matter of Bd. of Ed., Bellmore-Merrick CHSD, 19 id. 125; Matter of Nachman, 19 id. 22).