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Decision No. 13,180

Application to Reopen the Appeal of LOUIS BRUNELLI from action of the Board of Education of the Lakeland Central School District regarding elimination of a course in Italian.

Decision No. 13,180

(May 11, 1994)

Steyer & Sirota, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Murray Steyer, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--This is an application to reopen Appeal of Brunelli, 33 Ed Dept Rep 350, in which I denied petitioner's challenge to the decision of the Board of Education of the Lakeland Central School District (respondent) to eliminate the foreign language course of instruction in Italian. This application must also be denied.

In the original appeal, petitioner contended that the elimination of Italian was improper because there was insufficient input from the public and many district residents would have preferred that the board eliminate another language rather than Italian. The appeal was dismissed as untimely because petitioner did not bring it until approximately 16 months after respondent's decision to eliminate Italian. The appeal was also dismissed on the merits because petitioner failed to establish his contentions and because the decision to eliminate Italian was within the discretion of the board.

I must now deny petitioner's application to reopen because he has not demonstrated sufficient grounds to warrant such relief. Under '276.8 of the Commissioner's regulations, applications to reopen are addressed solely to the discretion of the Commissioner, and will not be granted in the absence of a showing that a decision was rendered under a misapprehension of fact or that there is new and material evidence which was not available at the time the original decision was made.

In this application, petitioner asserts that I "misunderstood and misapprehended ... contentions in my original appeal." Petitioner does not argue, however, that I misapprehended the facts giving rise to the dispute. In essence, petitioner merely seeks to reargue the contentions from his original appeal. However, an application for reopening is not intended to provide an opportunity for reargument of a prior decision (Application of Impellizzeri, 32 Ed Dept Rep 295; Application of Ferris, 30 id. 444; Application of Burke, 28 id. 205). Accordingly, petitioner is not entitled to the relief requested.