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Decision No. 13,502

Appeal of MARJORIE GNALL, on behalf of her daughter, ALLISON HOLLERAN, from action of the Board of Education of the Susquehanna Valley Central School District regarding a bus stop location.

Decision No. 13,502

(November 6, 1995)

Coughlin & Gerhart, attorneys for respondent, Mark S. Gorgos, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the refusal of the Board of Education of the Susquehanna Valley Central School District ("respondent") to relocate the bus stop from which her daughter, Allison, receives transportation services. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner alleges that a known and convicted pedophile lives directly across the street from her daughter's bus stop at the corner of Harding and Decatur streets in Binghamton. Petitioner requested that respondent change the stop after the pedophile allegedly exposed himself to her daughter while she waited for the bus. In response, respondent's superintendent moved the stop up Harding Street. Petitioner felt the change inadequate and commenced this appeal. She alleges that the refusal of respondent's superintendent to relocate her daughter's bus stop is arbitrary and capricious and requests that the stop be moved to Forest Hill Road near her home, where it had once been located.

Respondent raises a number of defenses, including mootness, because the location of the bus stop has changed from that challenged in the petition. On June 15, 1995, upon learning about the pedophile's history of sexual misconduct with children, respondent reconsidered the location of the bus stop and moved it to Stanford Street, where it is not within sight of the pedophile's home. Respondent's superintendent notified petitioner of this change by letter dated June 16, 1995.

Based upon these facts, petitioner's appeal is dismissed as moot. The Commissioner of Education will determine only matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision upon facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Jaffe, 34 Ed Dept Rep 652; Appeal of Jarosz, 34 id. 600; Appeal of Lopes-Hurt, 34 id. 588). Here, respondent approved a change in the bus stop location on June 15, 1995. Respondent's letter to petitioner and the petition were both dated June 16, 1995. It is not clear, nor is it relevant, whether or not petitioner was aware of the change when the appeal was commenced. However, the facts in the petition upon which petitioner bases her request for relief no longer exist. If petitioner remains dissatisfied with the new location of the bus stop, she may commence another appeal demonstrating a right to the relief requested based on the facts as they currently exist.