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Decision No. 17,144

Appeal of GEORGE MORA, on behalf of his son GEORGE MORA, JR., from action of the Board of Education of the Babylon Union Free School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 17,144

(August 14, 2017)

Guercio & Guercio, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Anthony J. Fasano, Esq., of counsel.

ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a determination of the Board of Education of the Babylon Union Free School District (“respondent”) that his son, George, is not a resident of the school district ("district"). The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner states that he resides with his son at an address in West Babylon, New York, located outside of respondent’s district.  Petitioner asserts that his son “previously resided within the Babylon School District from June 2016 - October 2016 ... and currently lives within the West Babylon School district at....”  It appears that petitioner and his son resided in respondent’s district at the begining of the 2016-2017 school year but moved out of the district sometime during that year.  Petitioner claims that he and the student’s mother are involved in litigation regarding custody and that next year, after the court determines custody rights, his son will attend school in the district in which he resides.

By letter dated March 1, 2017, after affording petitioner an opportunity to submit information regarding his residency, respondent’s superintendent informed petitioner that, based on the documentation submitted and information known to the district, petitioner’s son was not a legal resident of the district and, therefore, was not legally entitled to attend respondent’s schools.  Respondent stated that petitioner’s son would be excluded from attendance at the close of business on March 31, 2017.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on April 5, 2017.

Petitioner admits that he no longer resides in respondent’s school district.  However, he requests that his son remain in the district’s schools “for the remainder of the [2016-2017] year” because he believes it to be “overwhelming” for a child to enroll in two schools during the last three months of the academic year.  Petitioner sought interim relief permitting his son to attend respondent’s schools “for the remainder of the school year.” 

Respondent contends that petitioner and his son reside outside of the district.   Respondent asserts that the petition was “filed” improperly.  Respondent argues that its decision was not arbitrary and capricious, and that petitioner has a fixed, adequate, and regular night-time dwelling. 

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).  Petitioner requested that his son be allowed to finish the 2016-2017 school year in the district.  The relief sought was obtained by the issuance of the April 5, 2017 stay order, and the school year is now over.  There is no further relief requested and the matter is, therefore, academic. 

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