Lerch, Vinci & Higgins, LLP

LVH Hosts Panel Discussion for School Districts on Shared Services and Public-Private Partnerships
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June 18, 2010

Dieter P. Lerch, CPA, RMA, PSA served as a panelist on Friday, June 18, 2010 at the Shared Services and Public-Private Partnerships Roundtable held at the Renaissance Newark Hotel. The Roundtable, co-hosted by Lerch, Vinci & Higgins, LLP, Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader, LLC, MAST Construction Services, Inc. and DMR Architects, featured special guests Commissioner of Education Bret Schundler and Paul A. Sarlo, Senate Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman of the Budget & Appropriations Committee.

The Roundtable was organized in response to challenges school districts face regarding Governor Christie’s proposed 33-bill package of reforms in education, dubbed the “Tool Kit.” The Governor proposes a constitutional amendment creating a 2.5% cap on the increase in the property tax levy by municipal, school and county governments, and power enabling county executive superintendents to require districts to share services. The legislation also includes election and labor law reform.

After Commissioner Schundler’s address, Mr. Lerch spoke eloquently about recent fiscal events that left most school districts with unprecedented hardships. Earlier in the year, the Governor froze school aid payments for the current school year, requiring districts to use their excess surplus instead of state aid. Then came announcements that state aid would be drastically cut for the following school year, further decimating budgets. Before the panel discussion on shared services began, Mr. Lerch advised school districts on immediate steps they should take to protect their already fragile budgets.

The sharing of services is one way in which school districts can become more efficient in the long term, by pooling resources. Joining Mr. Lerch in the panel discussion was Jessica Cardone, Esq., Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader, and Dennis R. Smeltzer, Executive Director, Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization and Consolidation Commission. Mr. Lerch also participated in the panel discussion on Public Private Partnerships with Philip J. Morin, Esq., Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader, Ted Domurack of MAST, and Lloyd A. Rosenberg, of DMR. Mr. Lerch explained the historical aspect of PPPs, and presented an overview of how public entities partner with the private sector.

17-17 ROUTE 208 FAIR LAWN NJ 07410 (201) 791-7100  Fax (201) 791-3035 dlerch@lvhcpa.com