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Decision No. 15,322

Appeal of ELIZABETH TIMS and DENISE WITTMANN from action of the Board of Education of the Amityville Union Free School District and Dr. Brian M. DeSorbe, Superintendent, regarding termination of employment.

Decision No. 15,322

(November 17, 2005)

James R. Sandner, Esq., attorney for petitioners, Antonio M. Cavallaro, Esq., of counsel

Guercio & Guercio, attorneys for respondents, Raymond G. Keenan, Esq., of counsel


MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioners challenge the decision of the Board of Education of the Amityville Union Free School District ("respondent board") to dismiss them from their probationary teaching positions. The appeal must be dismissed.

Respondent board appointed petitioner Denise Wittmann ("Wittmann") to a probationary position as a business teacher effective September 1, 2001 and petitioner Elizabeth Tims ("Tims") to a probationary position as a mathematics teacher effective September 2, 2003. By letters dated May 21, 2004, Superintendent DeSorbe ("superintendent") notified petitioners that he was recommending to respondent board that their teaching appointments be terminated effective July 22, 2004 and that respondent board would vote on his recommendations on June 22, 2004.

By letters dated May 27, 2004 (Wittmann) and May 31, 2004 (Tims), petitioners requested explanations for the superintendent's recommendations. By letters dated June 8, 2004, the superintendent responded to those requests. On June 22, 2004, respondent board adopted the recommendations to terminate petitioners effective July 22, 2004. This appeal ensued.

Petitioners contend that the responses to their requests were untimely and impermissibly vague. Petitioners request that the terminations be annulled.

Respondents contend that the appeal is moot, that the decisions were rational and lawful and that they substantially complied with all notice requirements.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot. The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest ( Appeal of B.K. and R.K., 44 Ed Dept Rep 195, Decision No. 15,146; Appeal of V.L., 44 id. 160, Decision No. 15,132; Appeal of Garvin, 44 id. 30, Decision No. 15,087). Respondents state, and petitioners do not dispute, that on August 17, 2004, respondent board rescinded the terminations of petitioners' probationary appointments. Accordingly, the appeal is moot.