Decision No. 18,328
Appeal of B.M. from action of the Board of Education of the Phoenix Central School District regarding residency and homelessness.
Decision No. 18,328
(August 17, 2023)
Ferrara Fiorenza PC, attorneys for respondent, Thomas F. Barrett, Esq., of counsel
ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the determination of the Board of Education of the Phoenix Central School District (“respondent”) that he is not homeless within the meaning of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC §§ 11431, et seq., “McKinney-Vento”) and, therefore not entitled to attend the district’s schools tuition-free. The appeal must be dismissed.
Prior to the events described herein, petitioner lived with his family in the Liverpool Central School District. In March 2022, the student moved to an apartment located in respondent’s district. Respondent enrolled the student as a homeless student in April 2022 pending an investigation into his circumstances. The student attended respondent’s schools for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.
In a letter to petitioner dated August 10, 2022, respondent’s superintendent determined that, after speaking with petitioner’s mother, petitioner was not homeless because he was permitted to return to his family residence located in the Liverpool Central School District. This appeal ensued.
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 ). 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). After commencement of this appeal in September 2022, respondent maintained petitioner’s enrollment under the automatic stay provisions of McKinney-Vento (42 USC § 11432 [g]  [E] [i]) and State law (Education Law § 3209  [c]). And, in June 2023, petitioner graduated from respondent’s district. Accordingly, no live controversy remains and the appeal must be dismissed as moot (Appeal of Walsberg, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,332; Appeal of S.P., 56 id., Decision No. 16,951; Appeal of L.B. and T.B., 55 id., Decision No. 16,832).
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
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