Skip to main content

Decision No. 18,045

Appeal of LISA MAGNOLI, on behalf of her daughter, from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New Rochelle regarding residency.

Decision No. 18,045

(September 7, 2021)

Ingerman Smith, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Steven A. Goodstadt, Esq., of counsel.

ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the determination of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New Rochelle (“respondent”) that her daughter (“the student”) is not a district resident and, therefore, not entitled to attend the district’s schools tuition-free.  The appeal must be dismissed. 

Given the disposition of this appeal, a detailed recitation of the facts is unnecessary.  Prior to the events leading to this appeal, the student was enrolled in respondent’s district.  In December 2019, respondent’s assistant superintendent for pupil and student support services (“assistant superintendent”) “became aware that the [s]tudent was living with [petitioner’s mother] in the District during the week and staying with Petitioner,” who lives in Yonkers, New York, on the weekends.  On December 2, 2019, the district assigned an attendance teacher to conduct a residency investigation.

The assistant superintendent indicates that, in December 2019, petitioner told him, the former director of pupil services (“PPS director”), and another staff member that she lived in Yonkers while the student lived with her mother at an address within the district.  Subsequently, the attendance teacher conducted surveillance of the in-district and out-of-district addresses in January and February 2020.  By letter dated February 18, 2020, the PPS director determined that the student was not a district resident and would be excluded from respondent’s schools effective March 5, 2020.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was determined to be moot.[1]

Petitioner maintains that she and the student reside with her mother in respondent’s district.  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 the petition should be dismissed as petitioner has failed to establish that she and the student reside within respondent’s district. 

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 that no longer exists due to the passage of time or a change in circumstances (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; see Matter of Hearst Corp. v Clyne, 50 NY2d 707, 714 [1980]).  Where the Commissioner can no longer award a petitioner meaningful relief on his or her claims, no live controversy remains and the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of R.B., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,394; Appeal of N.C., 40 id. 445, Decision No. 14,522).

Counsel for respondent submitted an affirmation dated August 12, 2021 indicating that the student was not excluded, and, in fact, continues to attend respondent’s schools.  Specifically, the affirmation states, “While the School District cannot confirm whether  Petitioner and the student reside in the School District, it can confirm that the student has remained enrolled in the School District despite the previous exclusion letter effective June 30, 2020.”  There is no indication that respondent presently intends to exclude the student.  Even if respondent decides to exclude the student in the future, it would have to issue a new residency determination given the length of time that has transpired since February 2020.  Thus, there is no present dispute between the parties and the appeal must be dismissed.  




[1] Following commencement of this appeal, in a letter dated April 17, 2020, the former director informed petitioner that the student could remain enrolled in its schools through the end of the 2019-2020 school year “due to the current medical crisis.”