04/25/2013 06:34 EDT | Updated 06/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Newfoundland moving ahead with controversial plan to consolidate school boards

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government is pushing ahead with plans to consolidate the province's four English school boards, despite pleas from the Opposition to put the plan on hold.

On Wednesday, Education Minister Clyde Jackman announced a committee that will work to transition the boards to a single entity by the beginning of the next school year.

The committee will include the deputy minister of education, representatives from each of the current four boards, and Lorne Wheeler, a former president of the provincial teachers' association.

Jackman conceded that four months doesn't leave the transition team with much time to do the necessary work by Sept. 1.

The committee will act as the board of trustees until an election is held.

Liberal Opposition Leader Dwight Ball says not having a permanent board in place will have an effect on the classroom and on teachers.

NDP education critic Dale Kirby says the consolidation plan is a step backwards for the province's education system.