Skip to main content

Decision No. 15,510

Appeal of ELIO LAURIA, on behalf of his granddaughter ANGELA MORIARTY, from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Yonkers regarding class placement.

Decision No. 15,510

(December 22, 2006)


Ana I. Gonzalez, Esq., attorney for respondent

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Yonkers (“respondent”) to place his granddaughter, Angela, in ninth grade rather than tenth grade for the 2006-2007 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner has been granted custody of Angela by order of the Family Court in Yonkers, Westchester County. Angela attended Our Lady of Victory Academy, a private school, through the ninth grade. Petitioner registered her to attend respondent’s schools for the 2006-2007 school year.

Petitioner has not paid the full tuition owed Our Lady of Victory Academy for Angela’s ninth grade education during the 2005-2006 school year. Consequently, Our Lady of Victory Academy refused to relinquish Angela’s ninth grade report. Both petitioner and respondent contacted Our Lady of Victory Academy in an attempt to obtain this information. Our Lady of Victory Academy has continually refused to release the information until all money owed is paid. Because of the lack of information pertaining to her last year in school, respondent placed Angela in ninth grade.

Petitioner claims that Angela should be placed in the tenth grade at respondent’s schools because she completed the ninth grade at Our Lady of Victory Academy and the documentation they have should be sufficient to place her in the tenth grade.

Respondent argues that petitioner fails to state a claim. Respondent asserts that district policy requires a student to have a certain number of credits prior to enrolling in the tenth grade, and without documentation of how many credits Angela has completed, it is unable to enroll her in that grade. Respondent also argues that it has not acted in a manner that is arbitrary, capricious or contrary to sound educational policy.

A board of education has broad authority, under Education Law §1709(3) and §2554(1), to regulate the admission of students and their transfer from one class to another. Consistent with that authority, a board has the power to place students in particular classes (Appeal of D.R., 43 Ed Dept Rep 409, Decision No. 15,035; Appeal of M.F. and T.L., 44 id. 467, Decision No. 15,234.) The Commissioner will not substitute his judgment for that of a board of education with respect to student placement, absent evidence that the board has acted in an illegal, arbitrary or capricious manner (Appeal of D.R., 43 Ed Dept Rep 409, Decision No. 15,035; Appeal of M.F. and T.L., 44 id. 467, Decision No. 15,234).

In an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and the burden of establishing the facts upon which petitioner seeks relief (8 NYCRR §275.10; Appeal of Patton, et al., 42 Ed Dept Rep 226, Decision No. 14,832; Appeal of Pope, 40 id. 473, Decision No. 14,530). Petitioner has not met his burden of showing that respondent’s decision to place Angela in the ninth grade rather than the tenth grade was illegal, arbitrary or capricious.

Respondent’s determination to place Angela in the ninth grade is rationally based upon its requirement that a student complete a certain amount of credits before being placed in the tenth grade. There is no official documentation of the classes Angela took in the ninth grade or her final grades in those classes. Additionally, I note that respondent also attempted to obtain a copy of Angela’s records from Our Lady of Victory Academy, but was unsuccessful. Based on the record before me, I find that respondent has not acted arbitrarily or capriciously.

In light of this disposition I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.