NS school boards set to layoff 744 teachers

Nova Scotia's school boards emerged from meetings Monday with the Education Minister Jane Purves minus any good news to report to parents, teachers or students.

Purves says the provincial government cannot afford to restore the $27 million it cut from the education department's budget. So the province's seven school boards say they plan to immediately send out lay-off notices to 744 teachers and 1,100 program assistants, secretaries and other support staff.

Donnie MacIntyre, president of the Nova Scotia teachers union, says the cuts will be a major blow to teachers who are already overworked.

"Classroom teachers are working an average of 52 and a half hours a week and administrators 54 and a half hours a week," MacIntyre said. "Now to take that number of teachers, out of the system, that'll put a much greater strain on those that are left."

Purves says changes to the education system are necessary given the tight provincial budget.

The Halifax Regional School Board and the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board both plan to hold special meetings Tuesday night to begin planning how they'll deal with the cuts.