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Decision No. 15,619

Appeal of T.V., on behalf of her children S.S. and J.S., from action of the Commack Union Free School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 15,619

(August 6, 2007)

Lamb & Barnosky, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Robert H. Cohen, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commisioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Commack Union Free School District (“respondent”) that her children, S.S. and J.S., are not district residents.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Prior to 2004, petitioner and her husband resided in respondent’s district, and S.S. and J.S. attended respondent’s schools.  In 2004, petitioner and her husband divorced and entered into a joint legal custody arrangement for the children.  Petitioner moved to Holtsville, New York, outside respondent’s district, and the children’s father maintained the in-district home.  The children continued to attend respondent’s schools.  In 2005, the children’s father was incarcerated.  At the time of this appeal, he had been absent from the district and had not seen the children for over 20 months.

By letter dated February 13, 2007, the district informed petitioner that her children were not district residents entitled to attend the district’s schools on a tuition-free basis and that they would be excluded from school as of March 2, 2007.  In response, petitioner provided the district with a letter written by a clinical psychologist recommending that the children be permitted to attend school in the district for the remainder of the 2006-2007 school year.  Based on ensuing conversations with petitioner, the district extended the children’s last day of attendance to May 5, 2007.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on March 14, 2007.

Petitioner admits that she resides outside the district, but seeks a determination permitting her children to continue to attend respondent’s schools for the remainder of the 2006-2007 school year.  Respondent contends that petitioner resides outside the district, and therefore, the children are not district residents.

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 C.A., Sr., 45 Ed Dept Rep 388, Decision No. 15,360; Appeal of the New York Charter Schools Assn., Inc., et al., 45 id. 376, Decision No. 15,355; Appeal of the Bd. of Trustees of the N. Merrick Public Library, et al., 45 id. 363, Decision No. 15,350).  Petitioner only requested that her children be allowed to attend the district’s schools for the remainder of the 2006-2007 school year.  As that school year has ended, the appeal is moot. 

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