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Decision No. 16,222

Appeal of MAYRA CROWELL, on behalf of her son RODNEY HOWARD, JR., from action of the Charlotte Valley Central School District and Superintendent Mark Dupra regarding residency.

Decision No. 16,222

(March 31, 2011)

Hogan, Sarzynski, Lynch & DeWind, LLP, attorneys for respondents, James A. Gregory, Esq., of counsel

STEINER, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Charlotte Valley Central School District (“Charlotte Valley” or “district”) and Superintendent Mark Dupra (“superintendent”) (collectively “respondents”) that she and her son, Rodney, are not district residents.  The appeal must be dismissed.

For two years prior to August 2010, petitioner resided within the district and Rodney attended the district’s school.  On August 30, 2010, petitioner notified district officials that she had moved to a rental unit on Mt. Vista Drive in the Mountain View Mobile Home Park (“Mobile Park”) in Oneonta.  According to petitioner, the principal and superintendent determined that her new address was located within the City School District of the City of Oneonta (“Oneonta”), refused to admit Rodney to the district’s school, but never provided her with a written determination until September 13, 2010.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on September 28, 2010.  The record indicates that respondents have permitted Rodney to continue attending school in the district.

Petitioner contends that the Mobile Park property extends over both the Charlotte Valley and Oneonta school districts, that the address of her residential unit lies within Charlotte Valley and that, therefore, she and Rodney are district residents.  Alternatively, she contends that if the Mobile Park is treated as a single property, then the district’s boundary line intersects the dwelling and she is entitled to designate which district she would like Rodney to attend.

The superintendent asserts that as long as he has been superintendent, all school-aged children in the Mobile Park have attended school in Oneonta, and school taxes on the properties within the Mobile Park have been paid to Oneonta.  Respondents also dispute petitioner’s determination of the location of the boundary between the two districts and the allocation of taxes on the property.

The district also asserts that on September 21, 2010, it retained a surveyor to determine the actual location of petitioner’s property.  Furthermore, on September 24, 2010, it forwarded the matter to the District Superintendent (“district superintendent”) for the Otsego Northern Catskills Board of Cooperative Educational Services (“BOCES”) pursuant to Education Law §2215(1) for his review and determination of the actual school district boundary.  In response to an inquiry from my Counsel’s Office, the superintendent indicated that, as of February 24, 2011, neither the survey nor a determination by the district superintendent has been completed.

Accordingly, the appeal must be dismissed as premature.  The Commissioner will not render an advisory opinion on an issue before it becomes justiciable (Appeal of B.R. and M.R., 48 Ed Dept Rep 291, Decision No. 15,861; Appeal of Lachler, 47 id. 455, Decision No. 15,752).  The location of the boundary line between the districts must first be determined.  Once that occurs, the district needs to make a final residency determination based upon the district boundary as determined by the district superintendent.  Since the district superintendent has not yet issued his determination, and the student has been - admitted to the district pending such determination, this appeal must be dismissed as premature.