GUFS not obligated to pay for children at St. Basil
The New York State Court of Appeals ruled today, Jan. 5, that the Garrison Union Free School (GUFS) is “not obligated to provide a tuition-free education to those children determined to be non-residents of the school district.” Garrison Superintendent Gloria Colucci told Philipstown.info that they are “gratified by the court’s decision and happy to have the matter resolved.”
The dispute began in September 2002 when St. Basil sought to register 26 children at the Garrison school on a tuition-free basis. A residency hearing officer ruled, the following November that none of the students were residents and “therefore they were not permitted to attend the school on a tuition-free basis.”
On appeal of this ruling the New York State Commissioner of Education upheld the earlier decision based on the fact that St. Basil is not a “child care institution … licensed by the … Office of Children and Family Services.” In September 2003, St. Basil applied for a “certificate to operate a residential care program for children” pursuant to state law. On Nov. 10, 2006, St. Basil was issued a “license to operate a residential child care institution.”
Following this event, GUFS filed suit seeking a judgment that St. Basil’s new status did not mean that GUFS was required to pay educational costs for children at St. Basil who were not residents of the district. St. Basil countersued and both parties moved for a summary judgment on their respective claims for relief. On July 20, 2010, the New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of GUFS, but prior to a final resolution the question of whether “the order of this court … [was] properly made?” remained. Today’s decision by the Appellate Division affirms the July 20 ruling. The complete ruling may be found HERE.