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Decision No. 16,274

Appeal of L.A. from action of the Board of Education of the Mount Sinai Union Free School District regarding residency and transportation.

Decision No. 16,274

(August 8, 2011)

Kevin A. Seaman, Esq., attorney for respondent

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Mount Sinai Union Free School District (“respondent”) that she is not homeless within the meaning of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 (42 USC §11431 etseq., “McKinney-Vento”) and, therefore, is not entitled to attend the district’s schools or receive transportation thereto.  The appeal must be dismissed.

The record indicates that in December 2010, petitioner left her mother’s Pennsylvania residence and began staying with relatives in New York State.  On January 19, 2011, while living with a cousin in respondent’s district, petitioner enrolled in respondent’s high school.

In February 2011, petitioner left her cousin’s residence and began residing with her aunt outside the district.  On or about February 15, 2011, petitioner requested transportation between her aunt’s residence and respondent’s high school, claiming that she was a homeless student.

By letter dated February 23, 2011, respondent’s superintendent informed petitioner of his preliminary determination that she had a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” with her aunt outside the district and therefore was not homeless.  The superintendent stated that a final determination would be rendered no later than March 7, 2011 and requested that petitioner provide any additional information regarding her alleged homeless status for the district’s consideration by March 4, 2011.  By letter dated March 7, 2011, the superintendent informed petitioner of his final determination that she was not homeless and would be excluded from respondent’s schools after April 8, 2011.  This appeal ensued.[1]

Petitioner argues that she is homeless within the meaning of McKinney-Vento because she is sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason.  Respondent argues that petitioner is not homeless within the meaning of McKinney-Vento and that the appeal is moot.

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 record indicates that, after commencing this appeal, petitioner relocated to her father’s out-of-district residence and no longer wishes to attend respondent’s schools.  Accordingly, the appeal is moot.

Although the appeal must be dismissed as moot, I note that petitioner has the right to reapply for admission to respondent’s schools at any time and to submit any documentary evidence for respondent’s consideration.



[1] Petitioner was nineteen years old at the time this appeal was commenced.