The New York State Court of Appeals will hear a case over whether it was lawful for Nassau County to charge towns and cities for the tuition of local students attending the Fashion Institute of Technology.
The suit was initially brought about by the Town of North Hemsptead in 2011 after Nassau County took away 2010 sales tax revenue it owed the town to cover subsidies for local residents who were enrolled at the Manhattan school.
According to law, counties must pay a portion of the tuition for local students attending community colleges in other counties.
In its suit, North Hempstead argued that FIT was no longer a community college when it began offering four-year degrees and a masters program. In 2011 the Nassau County Supreme Court issued a ruling that North Hempstead had to reimburse the county for the tuition of students enrolled in two-year programs, but that decision was revered by an appeals court this year, adding that Nassau County was not allowed to withhold sales tax from North Hempstead.
Newsday reported the amount of withheld sales tax totaled $3.2 million from 2010 to 2012, according to the town. Both parties appealed to the highest court in the state.
"We think we have very strong arguments, and we're happy for the opposition to make their arguments," former North Hempstead town attorney Richard Finkel told Newsday. "The county is trying to solve its budget problems on the backs of the towns and the cities."