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Decision No. 15,737

Appeal of C.S., on behalf of her children P.S., P.R. and M.R., from action of the Board of Education of the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 15,737

(April 3, 2008)

Bouvier Partnership, LLP, attorneys for petitioner, Charles D.J. Case, Esq., of counsel

Paul Sikora, Esq., attorney for respondent

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District (“respondent”) that her three children were not district residents from September 7, 2005 through February 28, 2006 and that she owes non-resident tuition for that period.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner’s children began attending school in respondent’s district in September 2005.  In January 2006, the district questioned the children’s residency and, following an investigation, determined that the children were not district residents.  By invoice dated February 7, 2006 (which respondent admits should have been dated March 7, 2006), the district treasurer requested back tuition in the amount of $11,147.40 for the period September 1, 2005 through February 28, 2006.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner seeks a determination that the children were district residents for the entire 2005-2006 school year and were entitled to attend school in the district without the payment of tuition.  Respondent asserts that petitioner has resided in the district only since March 1, 2006, and therefore owes $11,140.40 in non-resident tuition.

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).  Respondent does not dispute that petitioner resided in the district as of March 1, 2006.  Accordingly, petitioner’s residency is no longer at issue and the only question concerns tuition for the period which respondent alleges that the children resided outside the district.

The Commissioner has historically declined to award tuition in residency appeals (Appeal of Crowley, 43 Ed Dept Rep 383, Decision No. 15,025; Appeal of Baronti, 42 id. 140, Decision No. 14,802; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 41 id. 52, Decision No. 14,613).  Such relief should be sought in a court of competent jurisdiction (Appeal of Crowley, 43 Ed Dept Rep 383, Decision No. 15,025; seealsoAppeal of C.R., 47 id. 108, Decision No. 15,642).