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Decision No. 16,392

Appeal of JANINE JAYCOX, on behalf of her son Patrick Jaycox-Loggia, from action of the Board of Education of the Port Jefferson Union Free School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 16,392

(August 20, 2012)

Dwayne S. Wagner, Esq., attorney for petitioner

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

GREY, Acting Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Port Jefferson Union Free School District (“respondent”) that her son, Patrick, is not a district resident.  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2011-2012 school year, Patrick was a senior in respondent’s high school.  At some point prior to February 13, 2012, it appears that petitioner moved out of respondent’s district.  On February 17, 2012, respondent determined that Patrick was not a district resident and could no longer attend its schools.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on March 29, 2012. 

Petitioner admits that she resides outside the district, alleges that respondent failed to comply with section 100.2(y) of the Commissioner’s regulations and requests a determination that Patrick is entitled to attend respondent’s schools on a tuition-free basis.  Respondent contends that the petition is not verified, that petitioner has failed to set forth a claim upon which relief may be granted and that its residency determination is in all respects proper.

The appeal must be dismissed for lack of proper verification.  Section 275.5 of the Commissioner's regulations requires that all pleadings in an appeal to the Commissioner be verified.  The petition must be verified by the oath of at least one of the petitioners.  In this appeal, petitioner failed to sign the oath.  When a petition is not properly verified, the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of D.P., 46 Ed Dept Rep 516, Decision No. 15,580; Appeal of C.S., 46 id. 260, Decision 15,501).

Moreover, 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 response to a request by my Office of Counsel, respondent submitted an affidavit from its assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services stating that Patrick graduated in June 2012.  Accordingly, the matter is moot, and the appeal must be dismissed.

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