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Decision No. 13,648

Appeal of KETURAH HADLEY, on behalf of LAWRENCE C. HADLEY, from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Rye relating to the payment of tuition.

Decision No. 13,648

(August 13, 1996)

Plunkett & Jaffe, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Phyllis S.

Jaffe, Esq., of counsel

SHELDON, Acting Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals from a determination of the Board of Education of the Rye City School District ("respondent") denying her request to waive tuition payments for her son's attendance in its public schools during the second half of the 1993-94 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.

Prior to the 1993-94 school year, petitioner resided in respondent's school district where her son attended the public schools. During the 1993-94 school year, petitioner moved to the Mount Vernon City School District, but her son continued to attend school in Rye as a senior and graduated from respondent's district in June 1994. The record indicates that discussions took place between school officials and petitioner regarding the amount of tuition petitioner would be charged for her son to complete his education in respondent's district.

On April 30, 1994 respondent billed petitioner for the second half of the 1993-94 school year in the amount of $2,950.00. Petitioner sought a waiver of the tuition based on allegations of financial hardship. By letter dated June 12, 1994 respondent notified petitioner that her request for a tuition waiver was denied.

Petitioner initiated this appeal by service of a verified petition on April 11, 1995, seeking review of respondent's denial of her tuition waiver request. Although her petition contains a statement alleging that she resided in respondent's district until September 1994, other allegations in the petition, as well as exhibits attached thereto, establish the change in residency during the 1993-94 school year. Petitioner does not dispute the change in residency in her prayer for relief but only seeks an order overturning respondent's denial of her tuition waiver request on the basis of her alleged financial hardship.

Respondent seeks dismissal of this appeal on the grounds that it is untimely and that petitioner has not set forth any basis for overturning its determination.

Respondent is correct in its assertion that the appeal is untimely. Section 275.16 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires that an appeal be initiated within 30 days of the decision sought to be reviewed. Petitioner was notified by letter dated June 9, 1994 that her request for waiver of tuition was denied. This appeal was not commenced until April 11, 1995, more than 10 months later. Consequently, the appeal is untimely and must be dismissed.

The appeal must also be dismissed on the merits. Education Law '3202(1) requires a board of education to provide instructional services to children residing in its district on a tuition-free basis. Although respondent may permit students in their senior year whose parents move out of the district to complete the year without payment of tuition (Matter of Ryan, 20 Ed Dept Rep 545), it is not obligated to do so. Petitioner offers no legal basis on which to overturn respondent's decision denying her request. Nor has she established that respondent's decision was unreasonable or arbitrary. There is no dispute that petitioner ceased to reside in respondent's district during the 1993-94 school year. Therefore, respondent's decision to charge petitioner tuition is entirely proper. While payment of tuition may cause petitioner financial difficulties, such does not provide a basis for overturning respondent's determination.