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The Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board is cutting 15 permanent teaching positions. ((CBC))

The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is cutting 140 positions next year to cope with a $5.1-million shortfall.

Board superintendent Ambrose White said an expected decline in student enrolment of about 700 will account for the loss of 22 teaching positions.

Once retirements are taken into account, as many as 15 permanent teachers could be laid off.

"There will be some impact, but hopefully minimum," said White. "To meet budget, we must lay off 15 teachers. We maintain a few as a buffer for September for any additions that may be needed."

The 15 permanent positions will be cut from the bottom of the seniority list.

The other job losses will be wide-ranging.  Fourteen positions will be cut among grounds, bus and lunchroom staff. There will be nine fewer cleaning positions and two fewer janitors. A library technician, a property services supervisor, one clerical position and a head bus driver are also being eliminated.

White said many of those cuts would be through attrition, but he didn't know the exact number.

Layoffs of permanent teachers also mean substitute teachers could see fewer hours in the classroom. The board hopes it can recall some laid-off teachers in September, opening up substituting opportunities for others.

White said the board tried to cut expenses everywhere first before it started eliminating jobs.

"At the end of the day 85 per cent of our budget is salaries and benefits so we had to go there," he said. "It is set in stone at this point … if there are increased retirements and other things happen, it may change, but this is the budget we were dealt with, and we had to make those decisions."

The board is expecting 42 teachers to retire at the end of the year, as things stands now.