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Decision No. 16,389

Appeal of JAMES HARTLEY, on behalf of his daughter DAZSANAE, from action of the Board of Education of the Baldwin Union Free School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 16,389

(July 27, 2012)

Ingerman Smith, L.L.P., attorneys for respondent, Noah Walker, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Baldwin Union Free School District (“respondent”) that his daughter (“the student”) is not a district resident.  The appeal must be dismissed.

In November 2011, the district received an anonymous tip that the student did not reside in the district.  After conducting an investigation, which included surveillance, and meeting with the student’s parents, the district determined by letter dated March 23, 2012 that the student was not a district resident. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on April 23, 2012. 

Petitioner claims that while his daughter sometimes stays with her mother outside the district, she resides with him within the district. Petitioner seeks a determination that his daughter is a district resident entitled to attend the district’s schools without the payment of tuition.

Respondent asserts that the petition fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and that the request for relief should be denied because the student resides outside the district with her mother. 

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).  In its answer, respondent contends, and petitioner does not refute, that the student’s mother withdrew the student from the district’s schools as of May 4, 2012 because the student would be moving to Deer Park, outside respondent’s district.  Accordingly, her residency is no longer at issue and the appeal is academic.

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

While the appeal must be dismissed, I note that petitioner retains the right to reapply for admission to the district on his daughter’s behalf in the future, should circumstances change, and to present any new information or documentation for respondent’s consideration.