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Decision No. 15,780

Appeal of LORRAINE LORETO, on behalf of her daughter NICOLE, from action of the Board of Education of the Lakeland Central School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 15,780

(July 10, 2008)

Shaw, Perelson, May & Lambert, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Margo L. May, Esq., of counsel

AHEARN, Acting Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Lakeland Central School District (“respondent”) that her daughter, Nicole, is not a district resident.  The appeal must be dismissed.

On December 29, 2007, petitioner submitted to the district a landlord’s affidavit and automobile insurance documents to establish residency within the district.  Thereafter, the district’s Director of Pupil Personnel Services (“director”) received information that petitioner was residing outside the district.  In January 2008, the director engaged the services of an investigator who initiated surveillance.

By letter dated January 30, 2008, the director notified petitioner that she had determined that Nicole resided outside the district and that Nicole would be excluded from the district’s schools as of February 8, 2008.  This appeal ensued.

On February 8, 2008, the director visited petitioner’s alleged residence, asked to see Nicole’s room and questioned the landlord.  Thereafter, petitioner notified the director that due to her visit, petitioner was asked to leave her current residence and would be living with her ex-husband until she could relocate back to the district.  The director gave petitioner until March 12, 2008 to find a new residence, at which time petitioner advised the director that she had insufficient time to do so.  Thereafter, respondent permitted Nicole to remain in the district pending the decision in this appeal.

Petitioner alleges that respondent’s answer is untimely and that she and Nicole reside within the district.  Petitioner contends that she is separated from her husband, who resides outside the district, and that she and Nicole sometimes visit him on school nights.

Respondent contends that petitioner has failed to demonstrate a clear legal right to the relief requested and that petitioner resides outside the district.

By letter dated May 20, 2008, petitioner confirmed that she has moved back to her ex-husband’s home outside the district after her landlord (petitioner’s uncle) asked her to leave.  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).  Since petitioner no longer alleges that she and Nicole reside at the address in question, the appeal must be dismissed as moot.

While the appeal must be dismissed, I note that petitioner retains the right to reapply to the district for admission of her daughter any time should circumstances change (Appeal of Holder, 44 Ed Dept Rep 32, Decision No. 15,088; Appeal of Normandin, 43 id. 153, Decision No. 14,950).