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Decision No. 16,332

Appeal of TAMMY SLINGERLAND on behalf of her children Angelica, Ryan and Jessica, from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Rensselaer, regarding transportation.

Decision No. 16,332

(February 29, 2012)

Girvin & Ferlazzo, PC, attorneys for respondent, Kristine Amodeo Lanchantin, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges various actions of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Rensselaer (“respondent board” or “board”) regarding a change in its transportation policy.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner has three children who attend school in the district.  In January 2008, the district moved its elementary, middle and high schools into a new facility.  At that time, the board adopted a transportation policy providing for transportation to all students, no matter how far they lived from school.  During the 2010-2011 school year, petitioner’s children received transportation to and from school pursuant to the 2008 policy.  At board meetings held on April 13, 2011 and April 26, 2011, however, the board adopted a revised transportation policy which provided as follows: 

Effective September 1, 2011, the District shall provide transportation for any student (K-12) residing more than one ... (1.0) mile from the school that she/he attends. 

This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on October 21, 2011.

Petitioner alleges that the board improperly revised the transportation policy without voter approval in violation of Education Law §3635.  Petitioner also alleges that the district violated Education Law §2023(2) by failing to transport all students in accordance with the previously approved transportation policy because the school budget was defeated.

Respondent counters that petitioner failed to demonstrate that it violated Education Law §§2023(2) or 3635 and that it has authority under Education Law §§2503(12) and 3635 to implement the mileage limitations adopted for the 2011-2012 school year.  Respondent also argues that the appeal is untimely.

An appeal to the Commissioner must be commenced within 30 days from the making of the decision or the performance of the act complained of, unless any delay is excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown (8 NYCRR §275.16; Appeal of Lippolt, 48 Ed Dept Rep 457, Decision No. 15,914; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879). The record reveals that the board adopted a revised transportation policy on April 26, 2011 and that petitioner received notice of the revised policy in the 2011 Budget Newsletter which was mailed out in May 2011.  Petitioner also acknowledges that her children did not receive transportation on September 6, 2011, the first day of school.  Since petitioner failed to serve the petition until October 12, 2011, more than five months from the date she received notice of the revised transportation policy, the appeal must be dismissed as untimely.  

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