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Decision No. 15,344

Appeal of HARRY L. CHERTOCK from action of the Board of Education of the Levittown Union Free School District and Dr. Herman A. Sirois, Superintendent, regarding disciplinary charges.

Decision No. 15,344

(January 19, 2006)

Paul J. Derkasch, Esq., attorney for petitioner

Ingerman Smith, L.L.P., attorneys for respondents, Jonathan Heidelberger, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the actions of the Board of Education of the Levittown Union Free School District ("respondent board" or "board") and Dr. Herman A. Sirois, (collectively referred to with the board as "respondents") in administratively processing Education Law �3020-a charges. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner is a tenured principal in respondents' district. On October 26, 2005, the board found probable cause to initiate disciplinary proceedings against petitioner pursuant to Education Law �3020-a. On October 29, 2005, petitioner received, by certified mail, a packet containing a notice of probable cause to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him pursuant to Education Law �3020-a. The packet did not contain copies of the board's votes preferring charges. This appeal ensued.

Subsequently, on November 4, 2005, signed voting sheets preferring charges were served on petitioner's counsel. In addition, on November 9, 2005, the board voted again on the charges preferred on October 26 and served petitioner on November 10, 2005 with new packets, including voting sheets.

Petitioner's request for interim relief was denied on November 9, 2005.

Petitioner alleges that respondents failed to comply with �82-1.3(b) of the Commissioner's regulations because they did not initially provide him with a copy of the board's votes preferring charges by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested or personal delivery. Petitioner also contends that a request for a �3020-a hearing prior to the resolution of this appeal will, under the principle of estoppel, constitute a waiver of his right to contest jurisdiction. Petitioner requests that I deem the charges against him null and void and that I order respondents to comply with the notification procedures prescribed by law.

Respondents allege that �82-1.3(b) of the Commissioner's regulations, which requires service of the vote preferring charges on an employee, is beyond the requirements of Education Law �3020-a. Respondents further argue that any initial omission was technical and, in any event, was subsequently corrected.

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).

The record reflects that on November 4, 2005 copies of the October 26 board votes preferring charges were forwarded to petitioner's counsel. In addition, according to respondents' attorney, on November 9, 2005, the board voted a new set of charges in the same words as those of October 26, and served petitioner with copies of those charges, including the board's votes, on November 10, 2005. Because respondents have already taken the action requested, petitioner's appeal is moot.

In light of the foregoing disposition, I need not address the parties' remaining arguments.

The appeal is dismissed.