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Decision No. 14,873

Appeal of ST. MARY"S CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, INC., on behalf of JOSH B., from action of the Board of Education of the Syosset Central School District regarding residency.



(May 30, 2003)


Warren & Warren, P.C., attorneys for petitioner, Richard J. Warren, Esq., of counsel 

Vanessa Sheehan, attorney for respondent, Randy Glasser, Esq., of counsel


MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a determination of the Board of Education of the Syosset Central School District ("respondent") that Josh B., a student placed in a residential treatment center (RTC) operated by petitioner, is not a district resident.  The appeal must be dismissed.

In August 2002, petitioner requested that Josh B. be enrolled in respondent"s schools.  By letter dated August 27, 2002, respondent informed petitioner that a hearing would be held to determine Josh B."s residency.  On September 4, 2002, Josh B. was denied admission to the 12th grade in respondent"s district.

Subsequently, a hearing was held on September 5, 2002.  In his September 6, 2003 decision, the hearing officer found that Josh B. was not entitled to attend respondent"s schools because he was not a resident of Syosset Central School District.  The hearing officer also found that Josh B. was living in petitioner"s Bermingham Hall RTC located at 525 Convent Road in Syosset, within the boundaries of respondent"s district, where he was placed by the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS).  However, because Josh B. attended a public school operated by the New York City Department of Education -- Public School 256Q, located on the RTC grounds at 525 Convent Road -- the hearing officer found that he was not entitled to attend respondent"s schools.  The hearing officer also found that the Nassau County Family Court granted permanent custody of Josh B. to his aunt and uncle on March 30, 1993 and placed him in petitioner"s child care institution sometime around 1995, with the most recent Court Order dated July 26, 2002.

On September 9, 2002, the superintendent adopted the hearing officer"s decision.  Petitioner commenced this appeal on September 12, 2002.  Petitioner"s request for an interim order was denied on September 26, 2002.

By letter dated April 24, 2003, respondent"s counsel informed my Office of Counsel that DSS changed Josh B."s placement to a certified foster home in March 2003, and a second residency hearing was held on March 11, 2003, which resulted in respondent admitting Josh B. to Syosset High School.  Petitioner"s counsel does not dispute this change of circumstances.

Petitioner contends that Josh B. is entitled to attend respondent"s schools because he is in petitioner"s legal custody and is a resident of respondent"s district while living at 525 Convent Road, within its boundaries.  Petitioner requests an order that Josh B. be admitted to respondent"s schools.

Respondent contends that Josh B. is not a resident of its district and that his legal residence is with his aunt and uncle in the Hicksville Union Free School District.  Respondent contends that petitioner has no standing to bring this appeal and that the petition should be dismissed for failure to join as necessary parties Josh B."s aunt and uncle, as well as DSS.  Respondent also contends that the hearing officer"s decision is rational.

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 T.B. and N.B., 42 Ed Dept Rep __, Decision No. 14,803; Appeal of J.F., 42 id. __, Decision No. 14,800).  Josh B. is no longer placed in petitioner"s RTC and was admitted to respondent"s high school in March 2003.  Since the residency issue has been resolved, the appeal is dismissed as moot.

In light of the foregoing disposition, I need not address the parties" remaining contentions.