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Decision No. 12,971

Appeal of ELAINE ROWE from action of the Board of Education of the Letchworth Central School District relating to petitions for propositions to be submitted to school district voters.

Decision No. 12,971

(August 2, 1993)

Harris, Beach and Wilcox, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, James A. Spitz, Jr., Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner, a resident of the Letchworth Central School District, challenges the board of education's acceptance of petitions seeking to place propositions before the voters at a special school district meeting and election to be held on June 25, 1992. Petitioner requests that I eliminate the propositions from the ballot. The appeal must be dismissed.

At the annual meeting of the Letchworth Central School District on May 19, 1992, voters rejected respondent's proposed budget. Acting at a subsequent meeting on May 26, 1992, respondent called for a special meeting of district voters to be held on June 25, 1992, for the purpose of voting on a revised budget. On June 3 and 4, 1992, respondent received petitions from district residents requesting that two propositions be placed before the district voters at that meeting. At a special meeting held several days later, respondent directed that six propositions be placed before the voters at the June 25 special meeting, including the two propositions challenged here. On June 25, voters rejected both propositions.

Petitioner contends that respondent should not have included the two voter propositions on the ballot on June 25, 1992, because the petitions presented to respondent did not contain sufficient signatures to be accepted by respondent. Respondent argues, however, that the subsequent defeat of these propositions by district voters renders this issue moot, and asks that the appeal be dismissed.

As the Commissioner's decisions uniformly state, only matters in actual controversy will be decided by the Commissioner in an appeal pursuant to Education Law '310 (Appeal of Dell, 18 Ed Dept Rep 351). Where subsequent events have laid to rest the previous controversy, the Commissioner will not issue a decision on the merits of the appeal. In this case, I must agree with respondent that the existence of alleged irregularities in the board's acceptance of the petitions is rendered academic by the subsequent defeat of the two propositions in question, and the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of Koslow, 26 id. 331).