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Decision No. 18,203

Appeal of M.Z., on behalf of her children, from action of the Board of Education of the Deer Park Union Free School District regarding residency and homelessness.

Decision No. 18,203

(October 12, 2022)

Frazer & Feldman, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Bryan Georgiady, Esq., of counsel

ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a determination by the Board of Education of the Deer Park Union Free School District (“respondent”) that her children (the “students”) are not homeless within the meaning of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act (42 USC § 11431 et seq., “McKinney-Vento”) and, therefore, are not entitled to attend the district’s schools or receive transportation.  The appeal must be dismissed.

On June 3, 2022, petitioner claimed that she and the students were homeless because they were sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing.  By letter dated June 9, 2022, the district’s homeless liaison determined that the students were not homeless as defined by McKinney-Vento and Education Law § 3209.  The liaison reasoned that the students resided in a fixed, regular, and adequate residence outside of the district.  Petitioner appealed the matter to respondent, which upheld the liaison’s determination on June 16, 2022.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner argues that the students are homeless because they are temporarily sharing the housing of others due to the sudden loss of their previous residence.

Respondent states that the students are now residents of the district and that the appeal must be dismissed as moot.

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).

Respondent provided information that petitioner and the students now reside within the district, and the students are eligible to attend respondent’s schools as district residents.  Therefore, no further relief can be awarded and the appeal must be dismissed as moot (see Appeal of Mizhirumbay, 61 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 18,101; Appeal of Lawlor and Vieira, 61 id., Decision No. 18,042).