Decision No. 17,917
Appeal of NATACHA JULES-BEAUBRUN, on behalf of her son JOHN BEAUBRUN, from action of the Board of Education of the Valley Stream Central High School District regarding residency.
Decision No. 17,917
(September 4, 2020)
Guercio & Guercio, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Christopher W. Shishko, Esq., of counsel
Rosa., Interim Commissioner.--In two separate appeals, petitioner challenges two separate determinations of the Board of Education of the Valley Stream Central High School District (“respondent”) that her son (“the student”) is not a district resident and, therefore, is not entitled to attend the district’s schools tuition-free. Because these appeals present similar issues of fact and law, they are consolidated for decision. The appeals must be dismissed.
Given the disposition of this appeal, a detailed recitation of the facts is unnecessary. The student began living in respondent’s district with a family friend on or about July 1, 2019. The family friend subsequently enrolled the student in respondent’s district for the 2019-2020 school year. Respondent enrolled the student but thereafter began an investigation into the student’s residency. A residency meeting was subsequently held on October 2, 2019. At the meeting, petitioner acknowledged, among other things, that she lived outside of respondent’s district; that she “exercise[d] decision making authority” with regard to the student; and that the student was covered by her health insurance plan. In a letter dated October 8, 2019, respondent’s superintendent determined that the student was not a resident and would be excluded from respondent’s schools effective November 8, 2019. Petitioner thereafter commenced the first appeal under Education Law §310. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on November 5, 2019.
On or about November 8, 2019, petitioner submitted additional documentation to the district in support of her claim that the student resided with the family friend. Thereafter, respondent permitted the student to attend school in its district until a subsequent residency determination was made. A second residency meeting was held on December 6, 2019.
On December 12, 2019, respondent’s superintendent determined that petitioner’s son was not a district resident and would be excluded from respondent’s schools effective December 20, 2019. Petitioner thereafter commenced the second appeal under Education Law §310. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on January 3, 2020.
Petitioner contends that the student lives with the family friend in respondent’s school district. Petitioner asserts that she granted “power of [a]ttorney” to the family friend and that the family friend is the student’s “permanent guardian” responsible for all aspects “relating to [his] care and wellbeing.” For relief, petitioner requests a determination that the student is a district resident entitled to attend respondent’s schools without payment of tuition.
Respondent maintains that petitioner has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and that petitioner has failed to meet her burden of establishing a clear legal right to the requested relief. Respondent contends that the evidence presented in this matter supports a finding that the student is not a district resident.
The appeals 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 Sutton, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,331; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937). In response to an inquiry from my Office of Counsel, respondent’s counsel confirmed by affidavit dated July 14, 2020 that petitioner’s son graduated from respondent’s high school on June 30, 2020 with a Regents Diploma. Consequently, the appeals are moot and must be dismissed (see Appeal of S.P., 56 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 16,951; Appeal of L.B. and T.B., 55 id., Decision No. 16,832).
In light of this disposition, I need not consider the parties’ remaining contentions.
THE APPEALS ARE DISMISSED.
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