Court Rules in Favor of Garrison School

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 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.


4 thoughts on “Court Rules in Favor of Garrison School

  1. Thank you for the instant reportage of this very important decision. It put accurate information in our hands as soon as the decision came down from the court. It was also very helpful to have a link to the Court’s decision.

  2. Thank you for reporting on this significant decision and to the Garrison School and its counsel for seeing this to a just and proper result. Some clarification for the last paragraph. The recent decision was made by the New York Court of Appeals, which is New York’s highest court. The July, 2010 decision was made by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, which is an intermediate appeals court. There was also a prior ruling in favor of the Garrison School by the Supreme Court, the trial level court. (New York court names can get confusing because of the use of “Supreme” in reference to lower courts, apparently a vestige of nomenclature inherited from the Dutch.)

  3. A ten year controversy is put to rest. Thank you for the link to the decision.

  4. What was always mind boggling to me was that a multi-million dollar outfit like the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America felt no shame at trying to offload the financial responsibility for these children onto the taxpayers of the tiny little hamlet of Garrison.