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Decision No. 16,211

Appeal of DOROTHEA WILLIS, on behalf of her son JOSEPH, from action of the New York City Department of Education regarding transportation.

Decision No. 16,211

(March 25, 2011)

Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, attorney for respondent, Marilyn Richter, Esq., of counsel

STEINER, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the New York City Department of Education (“respondent”) denying her son, Joseph, certain transportation services for the 2010-2011 school year.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Joseph attends Scholars’ Academy within respondent’s school district.  On June 9, 2010, petitioner filed a request seeking school bus transportation (“yellow bus service”) for Joseph.  By letter dated August 26, 2010, respondent’s transportation director denied petitioner’s request in accordance with the Chancellor’s regulations and, instead, offered a MetroCard for access to public transportation.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner asserts that her request for yellow bus service should have been granted because such transportation has been provided in the past and adequate public transportation is not available.  Respondent maintains that its denial of petitioner’s request was proper.  Respondent also claims that the appeal is untimely and that petitioner failed to effect proper service.

The appeal must be dismissed for improper service.  Section 275.8(a) of the Commissioner’s regulations requires that the petition be personally served upon each named respondent.  If a school district is named as a respondent, service upon the school district shall be made personally by delivering a copy of the petition to the district clerk, to any trustee or any member of the board of education, to the superintendent of schools, or to a person in the office of the superintendent who has been designated by the board of education to accept service (8 NYCRR §275.8[a]; Appeal of Peterson, 48 Ed Dept Rep 530, Decision No. 15,939; Appeal of Naab, 48 id. 339, Decision No. 15,877).

Petitioner’s affidavit of service indicates that the petition was served on respondent by leaving the petition with Linda Curattalo, apparently a staff person in the office of the Community School District Superintendent.  Respondent denies that Ms. Curattalo was authorized to accept service and states that it never received a copy the notice of petition and petition until my Office of Counsel faxed these documents to its attorneys on October 5, 2010.  Petitioner did not submit a reply to contradict respondent’s assertion of improper service.

When there is no proof that an individual is authorized to accept service on behalf of respondent, service is improper and the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of Terry, 50 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision No. 16,117; Appeal of Villanueva, 49 id. 54, Decision No. 15,956; Appeal of DeMarco, 48 id. 252, Decision No. 15,850).  Because petitioner failed to serve a copy of the petition on respondent in accordance with §275.8(a) of the Commissioner’s regulations, the appeal must be dismissed.

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