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Decision No. 14,504

Appeal of DENNIS KIPP from action of the Board of Education of the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District, and Donald Daoust, regarding a coaching appointment.

Decision No. 14,504

(December 8, 2000)

James R. Sandner, attorney for petitioner, Kevin H. Harren, Esq., of counsel

McCary & Huff, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Kathryn McCary, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the decision of the Board of Education of the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District ("respondent") to appoint Donald Daoust ("Daoust") as the coach of the varsity field hockey team for the fall 2000 season. The appeal must be dismissed.

On or about May 25, 2000, Rita Magee, a physical education teacher in respondent’s district, applied for the varsity field hockey coaching position for the fall 2000 season. Ms. Magee possesses a New York State teaching certificate and is certified in CPR and first aid. At its July 11, 2000 meeting, respondent appointed Daoust to the position. According to petitioner, Daoust has neither a New York State teaching certificate nor a temporary coaching license.

Petitioner contends that Daoust’s appointment violates "135.4(c)(7)(i)(c)(3) of the Commissioner’s regulations, which does not permit the appointment of an uncertified teacher to a coaching position when a certified physical education teacher is available. Petitioner further asserts that Daoust does not possess a temporary license pursuant to "135.4(c)(7)(i)(c)(3) and is ineligible for such because Magee is available to coach. For relief, petitioner requests that I annul Daoust’s appointment and direct respondent to comply with the Commissioner’s regulations. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on October 19, 2000.

Respondent raises two procedural objections, contending that petitioner lacks standing and that the appeal is untimely. Respondent admits that Daoust is not a certified teacher and essentially offers no legal justification for its decision to appoint Daoust, but points out that Daoust successfully coached the field hockey team the previous fall. Respondent acknowledges that Daoust did not have a temporary license at the start of the season, but asserts that it expected to receive approval of a temporary coaching certificate from the Questar III BOCES ("BOCES"). Respondent admits, however, that its application was denied by BOCES in October 2000 on the grounds that a qualified and certified teacher was available to coach the team.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot. 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 Swanson, 39 Ed Dept Rep 312, Decision No. 14,247; Appeal of Foshee, 38 id. 346, Decision No. 14,051). Petitioner challenges respondent’s varsity field hockey coaching appointment for the fall 2000 season. However, the fall field hockey season ended on October 18, 2000, rendering this appeal moot.

Although the appeal is dismissed as moot, I remind respondent that I have previously held that a district may employ an uncertified individual as a coach only when a certified physical education teacher or certified teacher with coaching qualifications and experience is unavailable (Appeal of Cavanaugh, 37 Ed Dept Rep 216, Decision No. 13,847). Further, an uncertified individual may not undertake coaching responsibilities until he or she has actually received a temporary license. The mere application for that license by the district does not qualify the prospective coach for his or her duties (Appeal of Cavanaugh, supra). Respondent is advised to strictly comply with these requirements when making any future coaching appointments.

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