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Decision No. 17,342

Appeal of T.S., on behalf of her children S.N., J.W., and S.S., from action of the Board of Education of the Corinth Central School District regarding residency and transportation.

Decision No. 17,342

(March 13, 2018)

Girvin & Ferlazzo, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Erin R. Morris, Esq., of counsel

ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the determination of the Board of Education of the Corinth Central School District (“respondent”) that her children (“the students”) are not homeless within the meaning of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC §11431 et seq., “McKinney-Vento”) and, therefore, are not entitled to attend the district’s schools tuition-free or receive transportation.  The appeal must be dismissed.

On or about April 10, 2014, petitioner represented to respondent’s homeless liaison (“liaison”) that that she and the students had been rendered homeless when her landlord directed that she and the students vacate the premises without notice.  Petitioner further stated that she and the students were currently residing with friends at an out-of-district address in Greenfield Center, New York.  Based on these statements, respondent allowed the students to attend its schools as homeless for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year. 

Thereafter, petitioner moved to an out-of-district address in Saratoga Springs, New York, which petitioner identifies as her current address in her petition.  During the fall of 2014, respondent obtained information indicating that petitioner had moved to the Saratoga Springs address and that it was a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.

In a letter dated December 1, 2014, respondent informed petitioner of its determination that the students were no longer homeless because she paid rent to live at her current address, and that this residence was stable, adequate and fixed.  The letter indicated that, pending an appeal pursuant to Education Law §310, the students would be excluded from respondent’s schools as of January 5, 2015.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on February 3, 2015.[1]

Petitioner contends that she and the students are homeless as they are currently living with friends until she and the students can find permanent housing within respondent’s district. 

Respondent contends that the appeal must be dismissed as untimely, and that its determination that the students have a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence was reasonable.

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 of the liaison in which she avers that, subsequent to the filing of the petition, the circumstances of each of petitioner’s three children have changed and none of the three students are currently enrolled in the Corinth Central School District.  The liaison further avers that, in or about March 2015, petitioner and the students were placed in housing by a county Department of Social Services.  Thereafter, respondent enrolled the students in its district and provided them with transportation to and from their temporary housing.  Subsequently, student S.N. graduated from respondent’s district in June 2017; student J.W. moved in with her biological mother in March 2015 and enrolled in her biological mother’s district of residence; and student S.S. enrolled in an out-of-state school for the 2016-2017 school year.  Therefore, any analysis of whether the students were homeless during the 2014-2015 school year would be academic under the circumstances, and the appeal must be dismissed as moot.




[1] Effective October 1, 2016, §11432(g)(3)(i) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, now requires that if a dispute arises surrounding a child’s eligibility, school selection or enrollment, such student shall be immediately enrolled pending final resolution of the dispute, including all available appeals (42 U.S.C. §11432[g][3][E][i]).  Because this appeal was commenced prior to October 1, 2016, this change is not relevant to this appeal.