Skip to main content

Decision No. 14,213

Appeal of AUSTIN WOOD, on behalf of TZVEE WOOD, from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Long Beach regarding transportation.

Decision No. 14,213

(September 23, 1999)

Ingerman Smith, L.L.P., attorneys for respondent, Neil M. Block, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the refusal of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Long Beach ("respondent") to provide a separate bus for students of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County ("HANC"). The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner and his son, Tzvee, reside within respondent's district and Tzvee attends HANC, a nonpublic school located outside the district. During the 1997-98 school year, respondent transported Tzvee and other HANC students on a school bus with students from a nearby Catholic high school. During the fall of 1997, Tzvee spoke with respondent's transportation director and superintendent and requested a separate van for HANC students because of problems between the two groups of students. Tzvee also complained that the bus rides were excessively long because the bus had to take a less direct route due to height restrictions on some roads along the route. His requests were denied and he appealed to respondent by letter dated January 5, 1998.

Thereafter, respondent installed video cameras on the bus to address the incidents between the two groups of students. However, that did not resolve the problem. When the 1998-99 school year began, respondent provided a separate van for students for the morning and first afternoon dismissal. Students dismissed at HANC's second dismissal time were again assigned to ride the larger, combined bus. Petitioner, unsatisfied with this arrangement, commenced this appeal on October 30, 1998. On November 9, 1998, respondent began providing a separate van for all transportation to and from HANC. Accordingly, petitioner's request for interim relief was denied on November 23, 1998.

Petitioner objects to the district's transportation arrangements and requests a determination that a separate van for HANC students is necessary for the 1998-99 school year and all future years.

Respondent contends that the appeal is moot and untimely. Respondent further contends that petitioner lacks standing to assert the rights of other HANC students. Finally, respondent argues that HANC students are not entitled to their own van for transportation to and from the school.

The appeal must be dismissed as untimely. An appeal to the Commissioner of Education pursuant to Education Law "310 must be commenced within 30 days of the action complained of, unless excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown (8 NYCRR "275.16). Respondent claims that it instituted the combined bus for the second dismissal on September 14, 1998. Petitioner states that Tzvee learned of these transportation arrangements on September 15, 1998. The appeal was commenced on October 30, 1998. Petitioner admits that the petition is late, but requests that the lateness be excused due to the number of religious holidays that occurred during that time period. While I am aware that there were several Jewish holidays during the period in question, petitioner does not provide any clarification or information on how those holidays resulted in a delay of over two weeks in filing the petition. Therefore, I will not excuse the delay and the petition must be dismissed as untimely.

The appeal must also be dismissed as moot. It is well settled that the Commissioner will only consider matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exists or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Alan G., 38 Ed Dept Rep 46, Decision No. 13978; Appeal of Schuler, 37 id. 512, Decision No. 13,915). The record reveals that the relief petitioner requested, a separate van for the transportation of HANC students to and from the school, is being provided by respondent. Accordingly, the issue is moot.

In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties' remaining contentions.