Dip into cliff reserves or not? Pinellas board candidate gives two responses
Jim Jackson, the top-financed candidate in the District 7 race for Pinellas County School Board, says he may have made an error when he answered a budget-related question in his St. Petersburg Times editorial board questionnaire.
The question: "The school district faces a $26 million budget gap for 2010-11, and a potential shortfall of $53 million the following year. Gaps that wide call for major cost cutting. What should be cut? What should be spared?"
Jackson's answer starts off: "Because the future of the real estate market is uncertain, we should start by looking at areas which can be cut now, and, if necessary, dip in to the 'cliff reserves' to fill any remaining gaps."
On Friday, when the Gradebook asked him a similar budget-related question, he said he favors cutting administrative positions, looking at closing and consolidating schools, and hiring an independent auditor to identify other areas ripe for trimming.
But when asked about his interest in using the cliff reserve money, he said he was surprised that he'd included mention of it in his questionnaire.
"That would be a last resort," he said after hearing his answer read back to him. "If things get worse, what do we do? Sure it's the rainy day fund and sure it's raining, but it's not storming."