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Fair v. Clarksville Montgomery County School System

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 23, 2017

STACEY FAIR, ET AL.
v.
CLARKSVILLE MONTGOMERY COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM

          Session October 5, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. CC-15-CV-2130 William R. Goodman, III, Judge.

         This appeal involves a determination by a school system that children were attending the wrong schools based upon their domicile within the county. We grant the school system's motion to consider post-judgment facts indicating that the children no longer attend any school in the school system and accordingly dismiss this appeal as moot.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed

          Mark Olson and Taylor R. Dahl, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Stacey Fair, and Michael Fair.

          Kathryn W. Olita, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Clarksville Montgomery County School System.

          J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas R. Frierson, II, and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]

          J. STEVEN STAFFORD, JUDGE.

         Background

         This is a case involving the proper domicile of three students for purposes of school placement. After an investigation, schools in the Appellee Clarksville Montgomery County School System (the "School System") sent notices to Appellants Stacey Fair and Michael Fair ("Parents") informing Parents that the schools had concluded that their three children were not attending the proper schools within the School System. Parents, on behalf of their children (collectively "Appellants"), objected to the out-of-district determination and filed a complaint in circuit court for injunctive relief. The trial court thereafter remanded the matter for the Clarksville Montgomery County Board of Education (the "Board of Education") for a hearing. An evidentiary hearing occurred on June 8, 2016, before a panel of examiners designated by the Board of Education. The parties presented competing testimony as to the children's domicile within the county. On June 10, 2016, the panel submitted its recommendation that the out-of-district determination should be upheld. The record from the hearing was thereafter sent to the Board of Education, and the panel's recommendation was accepted by a vote of 5-1 on June 19, 2016. An order was thereafter signed.

         On June 30, 2016, Appellants filed a notice of appeal to the same circuit court where the case had originally been filed. The School System objected to the trial court's jurisdiction. The trial court ruled that it had jurisdiction over the final order of the Board of Education. After a hearing, the trial court entered an order upholding the decision of the Board of Education. Appellants thereafter appealed to this Court.

         On October 4, 2017, one day prior to scheduled oral argument, the School System filed a motion to consider post-judgment facts, alleging that the three children that were the subjects of the out-of-district determination were no longer enrolled in schools within the School System and did not reside within the School System's boundaries.[2]Accompanying the motion was an affidavit from the Director of Schools for the School System indicating that one child had graduated from Clarksville High School in May 2017 and that the other two children were not enrolled in any school within the School System on the first day of school on August 8, 2017. Attached to the affidavit was a record from the School System's transfer information, documenting the facts contained in the affidavit. With regard to the two younger children, the transfer document indicated that records had been requested by a school in North Carolina.[3] Based upon these facts, the School System filed a motion to dismiss this appeal as moot.

         Oral argument occurred as scheduled. Neither Appellants nor their ...


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