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Nassau OKs tuition increase at college

The Nassau County Legislature Tuesday approved a $258 annual tuition increase as part of next year's $202.9 million budget for Nassau Community College.

"It's still a bargain," said Legis. Judy Jacobs of Woodbury, one of four Democrats who joined the 11 Republicans for the 2011-12 budget that raised tuition to $3,990 a year.

But the tuition increase drew the opposition of the other four Democratic legislators. "It's too much," said Dave Denenberg of Merrick, joined by Judi Bosworth of Great Neck, Wayne Wink of Roslyn and Joseph Scannell of Baldwin.

Charles Loiacono, the union chief for the adjunct faculty at the college, called the $258 increase a tax. "I don't understand how the county executive [Edward Mangano], who ended that energy tax of $60 a home as too much could send this budget down here [to the legislature] for approval. It is just another tax, but on 2,300 students instead of the entire county population," he said.

College President Donald Astrab noted that this is the second year in a row his budget was less than the previous year's budget.

With rising costs and cuts in state aid, savings had to be found elsewhere, he said. One place, he added, was the elimination of 40 temporary full-time instructors. He called that a "difficult, painful and, yes, unpopular" decision.

In other matters, the legislature voted 19-0 to approve the sale of 84 acres of former Grumman property in Bethpage for $15 million, with a $10 million payment this year and $5 million next.

It was unclear what the purchaser, Steel K Llc, intends to do with the property, although Mangano, who praised the vote, said: "Today's sale of this property will attract thousands of additional jobs to Nassau County in the field of homeland security and film and television production."

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