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Decision No. 17,352

Appeal of EDWINA G. MOORE, on behalf of her children DAVID and BRIANNA, from action of the Board of Education of the Sewanhaka Central High School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 17,352

(March 20, 2018)

Bernadette Gallagher-Gaffney, Esq., attorney for respondent

ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Sewanhaka Central High School District (“respondent”) that her children, David and Brianna (the “students”), are not residents of the district entitled to attend its schools tuition-free.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner claims that the students have lived in the district with her for two and one-half years, but that because of her work schedule and health concerns, the students “often” stay with her parents outside of the district (“Queens residence”).  In September and October 2014, the district conducted surveillance at the in-district residence listed on the students’ applications and at the Queens residence. 

By letter dated October 2, 2014, the district’s superintendent informed petitioner that a determination had been made that the students are not residents of the district and would be excluded from the district’s high school as of October 17, 2014.  Petitioner appealed the district’s decision, and a hearing was convened on October 17, 2014.  In a decision dated December 19, 2014, the hearing officer concluded that the students were not entitled to attend the district’s high school because they did not reside within the district and stated that they would be excluded from respondent’s high school as of January 30, 2015.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on February 12, 2015. 

Petitioner contends that the students live with her in the district.  Petitioner seeks a determination that the students are residents of the district and are entitled to attend the district’s schools tuition-free. 

Respondent contends that the petition is untimely.  Respondent also claims that its determination that the students are not residents of the district was rational and is supported by the record, and therefore, should be upheld.

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).  I take administrative notice of a subsequent appeal filed by petitioner, which is being issued forthwith (Appeal of Moore, Appeal No. 20366).  In that appeal, the record indicates that petitioner re-registered the students in February 2015 and provided different documentation to respondent regarding proof of residence than what was provided in the instant appeal.  The district accepted the students into its schools based upon the new documentation. 

These subsequent events have rendered the instant appeal academic, warranting dismissal. 

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