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Heather Smith, the New Brunswick Teachers' Association's outgoing president, said she's concerned about the loss of 40 teachers positions. (CBC)

The New Brunswick Teachers' Association is pushing for a meeting with Education Minister Jody Carr so he can explain how a reduction of 40 teachers is going to be implemented in the province.

The Department of Education is eliminating 40 teaching positions because of declining student numbers and budget cuts.

Heather Smith, the outgoing president of the teachers’ union, said she’s worried about how the reductions will be felt in the classrooms.

Smith said she has asked for a briefing from Carr and his senior civil servants so she can get a better understanding of the impact of the cuts.

"I’d like to find out where those cuts are, in what districts, in what areas, perhaps in what schools, I don’t know how much details we can be provided," she said.

"It is a concern. We will have 40 fewer classrooms in New Brunswick next year."

The provincial government sets class sizes and if enrolment drops that can trigger a reduction in the number of teachers.

But the union president said there could be 10 fewer students in two different schools, which would not require a teacher to be cut.

She said teachers are the most qualified to help New Brunswick students succeed and needs are increasing in the fully inclusive system.

The loss of teachers will also mean fewer course options for students, she said.

Smith said from what she has heard informally, it seems there could be even more positions eliminated.

She said she understands the provincial government is in a difficult financial position but cutting teachers is not in the province’s long-term interest.

"If we're going to have a society in New Brunswick that's going to be productive, is going to be proactive and [will be made up of] critical thinkers and being able to be the benefit for society, the future is in our kids," she said.

"So we need to take the opportunity not to reduce their benefits and their opportunities, but to increase them and that is for all students."