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Decision No. 13,836

Appeal of CLARELLE PIERRELUS, on behalf of her daughter, EDNA PIERRELUS, from action of the Board of Education of the Sewanhaka Central High School District regarding student residency.

Decision No. 13,836

(October 3, 1997)

Long Island Advocacy Center, attorneys for petitioner, Eileen C.

Buckley, Esq., of counsel

Douglas E. Libby, Esq., attorney for respondent

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Sewanhaka Central High School District ("respondent") that her daughter is not a resident of the district. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner is the mother of Edna, who was a senior at respondent’s high school at the time this appeal was filed. Petitioner and her daughter contend that they reside in Elmont, within respondent’s district. Petitioner concedes that she owns a home in Queens, outside respondent’s district, but alleges that she does not reside at that address. Petitioner asserts that she rents the main portion of her Queens home to a person unrelated to her and that her adult daughter resides in the basement apartment. In a letter dated October 17, 1996, respondent's Director of Pupil Personnel Services challenged peititoner's residency in the district. On October 24, 1996, petitioner attended a meeting to discuss her residency status with respondent's designee. On October 31, 1996, respondent's designee determined that petitioner was not a district resident based on surveillance that placed her at the Queens address. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief pending a determination on the merits was granted on December 4, 1996. On July 15, 1997, my Office of Counsel requested additional information pursuant to 8 NYCRR 276.5 concerning Edna’s status since the 1996-97 school year had concluded.

Petitioner contends that she resides in respondent’s district. Respondent contends that its determination that petitioner is not a resident of the district is neither arbitrary nor capricious and should not be disturbed.

The record in this case reveals that petitioner’s daughter graduated from high school in June 1997. Therefore, the dispute concerning her residency no longer exists. Since the Commissioner of Education only decides matters which are 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 McCart, et al., 36 Ed Dept Rep 363; Appeal of Berheide, 35 id. 412; Appeal of Healy, 34 id. 611), the appeal must be dismissed.