For Immediate Release Media Contacts: Collin Nash, Sid Nathan, and Jason Elan
North Hempstead Wins Key Legal Battle Against Nassau County
August 18, 2011 (516) 869-7794
Court Directive Will Save North Hempstead Taxpayers Millions Going Forward; County Ordered to Pay Back Town and Stop Unwarranted Chargebacks
North Hempstead, NY— Supervisor Jon Kaiman today announced that North Hempstead has won a huge victory for the residents of the Town in its battle to end taxpayer subsidies for students enrolled in baccalaureate or masters degree programs at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) in Manhattan. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Parga issued a ruling that Town taxpayers will no longer have to foot the bill for such expenses.
Supervisor Kaiman praised the ruling, noting that the decision translates into millions of dollars in savings for North Hempstead residents.
“I am proud to have led the Town in this critical and pioneering lawsuit,” said Supervisor Kaiman. “The court’s decision correctly relieves local taxpayers of this unfair and inequitable burden. I am also pleased that the benefits of this victory can be shared by all the residents of the towns and cities in Nassau County, that is if the county joins our suit instead of opposing us every step of the way.”
Nassau County has taken the position that county residents should fully subsidize the F.I.T. graduate and four year programs in the amount of $10,900 per student.
Under the guise of the community college chargeback provisions contained in the State's Education Law, the county of residence of a student attending F.I.T. reimburses F.I.T. for a significant portion of the cost of that student's tuition. F.I.T. is unique, however, in that it offers baccalaureate and masters degree programs in addition to its community college offerings.
In 2011, for the first time and without advance warning, the County attempted to backcharge its towns and cities for their alleged share of F.I.T. related charges. The cost to the taxpayers of North Hempstead would have been $1.17M just for 2010.
The Town sued the County, alleging amongst other things, the chargeback for the more expensive baccalaureate and masters degree curriculums are not authorized. Over the County's opposition, the court agreed, holding that the County has no authority to pass these expenses down to its towns and cities.
The charge assessed by F.I.T. for each local student totals $10,900 per year. That is more than three times what Nassau Community College is permitted to charge back, and almost five times the chargebacks assessed by a majority of the State's community colleges.