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Decision No. 14,654

Appeal of the BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE LYNBROOK UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT and WILLIAM METKIFF, as Superintendent of Schools, from action of Nancy Sebouhian, parent of Carly Sebouhian, regarding home instruction.

Decision No. 14,654

(November 9, 2001)

Ehrlich, Frazer & Feldman, attorneys for petitioners, Laura A. Ferrugiari, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioners, the Board of Education of the Lynbrook Union Free School District and its superintendent, seek a determination that Carly Sebouhian, a home instructed student, is not receiving a substantially equivalent education and that respondent, Nancy Sebouhian, who is Carly"s mother, has not complied with Commissioner"s regulations and State law. The appeal must be dismissed.

Respondent notified petitioners that she would begin home schooling her daughter, Carly, in the 1998-1999 school year so that she could become a dance student at The School of American Ballet in New York City. Petitioners contend that since respondent initiated home instruction, she has failed to submit the documentation required under the Commissioner"s regulations, such as appropriate individualized home instruction plans, quarterly reports and annual assessments, despite their repeated requests for the same. As a result, petitioners claim that they have been unable to determine if Carly is receiving a substantially equivalent education at home as required under Education Law "3204 and the Commissioner"s regulations (8 NYCRR "100.10). This appeal ensued.

This appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Education Law "310 provides that any person considering himself aggrieved by an action taken at a school district meeting, by the trustees of a school district or library, or by any other official action or decision of a school officer or authority may seek review of such action or decision in an appeal to the Commissioner of Education. There is nothing contained in Education Law "310 that authorizes the Commissioner to review appeals by school districts against parents. Accordingly, petitioners' claims must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction (See Appeal of Perry, et al., 36 Ed Dept Rep 141, Decision No. 13,682; Appeal of Interfaith Medical Center, 27 id. 405, Decision No. 11,991).

While the appeal is dismissed for the above reason, I note that prior to commencing this appeal, petitioners commenced an action in the Nassau County Supreme Court seeking a determination that respondent was guilty of educational neglect. According to petitioners" papers, the court dismissed the action on the grounds that petitioners did not have standing to commence a proceeding under "1032 of the Family Court Act. I note that where district officials are unable to elicit information from parents regarding home instruction and have insufficient evidence to conclude that appropriate instruction has been taking place, the district is obligated to report the case to the central registry as a case of suspected educational neglect pursuant to Social Services Law "413.

In light of my determination, I need not address the parties" remaining contentions.