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Decision No. 16,167

Appeal of JEFFREY TOBACK, on behalf of his daughter MELISSA, from action of the Board of Education of the Oceanside Union Free School District, regarding participation in a school club event.

Decision No. 16,167

(November 30, 2010)

Frazer & Feldman, LLP, attorneys for respondent, James H. Pyun, Esq., of counsel


STEINER, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Oceanside Union Free School District (“respondent”) regarding his daughter’s eligibility to participate in a January 2010 school club competition at Harvard University (“Harvard competition”).  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years, Melissa attended respondent’s high school and was a member of its World Interest Club (“WIC”).  She sought to be a member of WIC’s team at the Harvard competition but was not selected.

Petitioner appealed to various school officials, including WIC’s faculty advisor and the superintendent, who affirmed WIC’s decision.  Thereafter, by letter dated December 29, 2009, respondent affirmed the superintendent’s decision.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on February 9, 2010.

Petitioner seeks an order reversing respondent’s decision on the grounds that it was arbitrary, capricious, contrary to law and in violation of district regulations and policies.  Contrary to this position, however, petitioner also appears to argue that the board “took no action” on Melissa’s appeal in violation of district policy.  Finally, petitioner raises several general objections to the manner of operation of the “2009-2010 WIC.”

Respondent argues, interalia, that the appeal must be dismissed as moot, untimely, and for failure to join necessary parties and to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.  Respondent maintains that WIC’s determination and its denial of petitioner’s appeal were in all respects proper.

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 a Student with a Disability, 48 Ed Dept Rep 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; Appeal of Embro, 48 id. 204, Decision No. 15,836).  The basis of this appeal is respondent’s decision, as memorialized in its December 29, 2009 letter, that the superintendent’s determination that Melissa was not eligible to attend the Harvard competition “shall stand as the final decision” of the district.  Because the record indicates that the Harvard competition occurred on or about January 28, 2010 – the same date on which petitioner commenced this appeal by service on respondent – and the relief sought relates solely to respondent’s December 2009 decision regarding her attendance at such competition, no meaningful relief can be granted and the appeal must be dismissed as moot.

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