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Decision No. 18,241

Appeal of MICHAEL BAHEL, on behalf of his children, from action of the Board of Education of the Montauk Union Free School District regarding residency.

Decision No. 18,241

(February 22, 2023)

Ingerman Smith LLP, attorneys for respondent, Neil M. Block, Esq., of counsel

ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the Board of Education of the Montauk Union Free School District (“respondent”) that his children (the “students”) are not district residents.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Given the disposition of this appeal, a complete recitation of the facts is unnecessary.  In a written decision dated November 16, 2022, respondent concluded that the students were not district residents entitled to attend respondent’s schools.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was granted on December 5, 2022.

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

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).

Following the initiation of this appeal, respondent informed the Office of Counsel that petitioner voluntarily withdrew the students from its schools to attend school in a different district.  Therefore, despite being allowed to attend respondent’s schools pursuant to a stay order, petitioner voluntarily removed the students from the district and no longer seeks the relief sought in this appeal.  As such, the appeal must be dismissed as moot (Appeal of Cardenas, 62 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 18,187).