Liberal education critic Dale Kirby says there will be "far fewer" teachers in the province's schools when classes resume in September because of government cuts.

In a statement Tuesday, Kirby said information from the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District "indicates that the change in teacher allocations is more extensive than first thought." 

The St. John's North MHA said nearly 80 schools in the eastern region will be affected by the reduction in teaching units, while another 90-plus schools in the rest of the province will see cuts.

"Some schools are losing as many as five or more teaching units. In some cases a unit can be more than a single teacher. It is very likely that students will return to school in September with far fewer teachers on staff than they had in June," said Kirby.

Retirements will more than offset cuts

Kirby's numbers are based on documents obtained through a Liberal access to information request to the school district.

This past spring, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced it was cutting 77.5 teaching positions as part of a cost-saving measure.

That's from a current complement of about 6,000 full-time teachers.

However, upwards of 150 teachers are expected to retire, so there will be positions for new teachers coming into the system.

Kirby remains concerned about the impact on the education system.

He said schools in more populated areas will see the greatest impact. He said schools in locations such as Corner Brook, Mount Pearl, St. John's, Clarenville and Conception Bay South will lose 23 teaching units.

He said the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Paul Davis has failed to understand the full impact of the cuts.

"Teachers will return to school in September with fewer resources, larger classes and a heavier workload. It's a clear recipe for failure," said Kirby.