Teachers in P.E.I. will have fewer professional development days for the rest of the fiscal year as part of a cost-cutting measure by the Department of Education.

As the end of the fiscal year approached, the department's budget came up short. So from mid-January until the end of March, some professional development days for teachers have been cancelled.

Imelda Arsenault, director of education, French programs, said it's a cut with the least impact on students.

"We always look at the options that do not impact the student in the classroom directly," said Arsenault. "

"And by having teachers in the classroom — that's one thing that we are very adamant about, is not pulling them out very often — so, PD days is an option that we find reasonable."


Substitute teacher Judith Reeson is upset about the Education Department's move to cut PD days until April. (Pat Martel/CBC)

A portion of the money saved is for substitute teachers' salaries. They get a maximum of $136 a day to fill in.

Gilles Arsenault, president of the P.E.I. Teachers Federation, said it would negatively impact students.

"Teachers are concerned because obviously, if you're offering PD, it's to help out student learning at the end of the day," he said.

Substitute teacher Judith Reeson doesn't like the cut.

"We have no rights, we earn very little pay. I would say, on average, a substitute teacher earns between $10,000 and $14,000 a year, which is below the poverty line," said Reeson.

It's not clear exactly how many substitute teaching days will be lost in the cuts.

The department said substitutes still have opportunities such as sick leave and short-term contracts. And some boards have their own PD days for what the department calls "essential programs."