Red ink means pink slips in Jeff Davis

Time may be running out for some employees in the Jeff Davis County School District. That's because the district misappropriated more than $1 million — carelessness that will now cost some school employees their jobs.

"In January I would like to be able to tell the employees that which ones will be laid off," Superintendent Wayne Fortenberry said Monday.

His district is facing a budget deficit of $1.2 million following a state audit in August. The audit determined the district improperly transferred 16th Section land money into its operating fund during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years.

"We're going to have to downsize. We want to be able to do that by the end of next June," Fortenberry says.

But that's eight months away, and Fortenberry says exactly how many of the district's 366 employees will be jobless by that time is unknown.

What is certain is that certified teachers and those with seniority are safe. So who'll be in line for pink slips?

"Non-licensed employees," Fortenberry says. "From your bus drivers, secretaries, custodians, assistant teachers."

Cutbacks that may inevitably affect the district's 2,100 students.