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Decision No. 16,488

Appeal of B.S., on behalf of her son N.M., from action of the New York City Department of Education regarding transportation.

Decision No. 16,488

(June 24, 2013)

Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, General Counsel, New York City Department of Education, attorney for respondent, Chad B. Pimentel, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the refusal of the New York City Department of Education (“respondent”) to provide her son with school bus (“yellow bus”) service to and from respondent’s schools. The appeal must be dismissed.

The record indicates that, during the 2011-2012 school year, petitioner and her son resided in a homeless shelter located in Bronx, New York and N.M. attended school at I.S.238 in Community School District 29 in Queens, New York. During the 2011-2012 school year, respondent provided petitioner with a full-fare Metro Card to permit N.M. to travel on public transportation to and from I.S. 238. On or about May 29, 2012, a case worker from an advocacy organization requested that respondent provide N.M. with yellow bus service rather than public transportation. Subsequently, respondent’s Office of Pupil Transportation(“OPT”) conducted an analysis to determine if N.M. could be added to an existing yellow bus route. OPT concluded that no existing route could serve N.M. without displacing multiple other students or violating the individualized education programs of special education students with mandatory transportation requirements.

By email dated June 11, 2012, respondent notified the case worker that it would not provide yellow bus transportation to N.M. but that, consistent with respondent’s policy, N.M. remained eligible for a free Metro Card. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on July 9, 2012.

Petitioner requests that respondent arrange for yellow bus transportation for N.M. to and from I.S. 238.The record reflects that the district provided petitioner’s son with transportation during the summer of 2012 in the form of a full-fare Metro Card and that it will continue to do so during the 2012-2013 school year.

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 an affidavit dated October 9, 2012, respondent’s program coordinator averred that, in July 2012, petitioner and her family were transferred from a homeless shelter in the Bronx to a homeless shelter in Queens, thereby obviating the need for the requested transportation. The program coordinator also states that as of September 24, 2012, petitioner left the Queens shelter and “voluntarily removed herself from New York City’s Department of Homeless Services system,” and has not made any additional requests to respondent for transportation. Therefore, the appeal must be dismissed as moot.