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Decision No. 15,114


Appeal of JOSETTA WALKER, on behalf of her daughter NADIRAH GATHERS, from action of the Board of Education of the Roosevelt Union Free School District regarding transportation.


Decision No. 15,114


(September 17, 2004)


Koehler & Isaacs, LLP, attorneys for petitioner, Joey Jackson, Esq., of counsel


Jaspan Schlesinger Hoffman, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Lawrence J. Tenenbaum, Esq., of counsel


AHEARN, Acting Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Roosevelt Union Free School District (�respondent�) denying her daughter, Nadirah, transportation to a nonpublic school.  The appeal must be dismissed.

In December 2003, petitioner withdrew her daughter from respondent�s elementary school, enrolled her in a nonpublic school, and requested that respondent provide transportation.  By letter dated January 13, 2004, respondent�s assistant superintendent for business advised petitioner that the district would transport Nadirah for a monthly charge of $449.  By letter dated February 13, 2004, petitioner appealed this decision to respondent.  By letter dated March 17, 2004, respondent upheld the decision to deny petitioner�s request.

Respondent apparently transported Nadirah to the nonpublic school in February, March and April, 2004, notwithstanding petitioner�s failure to pay the sum requested, but refused to transport her thereafter.  Petitioner commenced her appeal on May 24, 2004.  Her request for interim relief was denied on June 18, 2004.

The appeal must be dismissed as untimely.  An appeal to the Commissioner of Education must be commenced within 30 days of the making of the decision or the performance of the act complained of, unless excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown (8 NYCRR �275.16; Appeal of Trader, 43 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision No. 14,967; Appeal of Recore, 42 id. 283, Decision No. 14,856; Appeal of Phillips, 40 id. 241, Decision No. 14,471).  Respondent notified petitioner by letter dated March 17, 2004 that her transportation request was denied.  Petitioner did not commence this appeal until May 24, 2004, well beyond the 30-day timeframe, and offers no excuse for the delay.

The appeal must also be dismissed as moot.  The Commissioner of Education will only consider matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts that no longer exists or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Cordisco, 44 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision No. 15,089; Appeal of Schrader, 42 id. 47, Decision No. 14,771; Appeal of E.F., 42 id. 23, Decision No. 14,762).  Since the 2003-2004 school year has ended, petitioner�s request for transportation during that school year is moot.  The record also reflects that respondent has granted petitioner�s timely request for transportation for the 2004-2005 school year.  Accordingly, there is no possibility of any further meaningful relief and the appeal must be dismissed.