08/26/2014 08:30 EDT | Updated 10/26/2014 05:59 EDT

Quebec school boards’ budgets shrinking

School boards across the province are struggling to adopt their budgets for the new academic year as the Quebec Ministry of Education imposes overall cuts.

With the start of the school year just days away, the Lester B. Pearson School Board has just finished approving its budget — a process its director-general Robert Mills said was difficult.

He said the board received guidelines from the ministry later than usual.

“This year because of a change in government, we did not receive our budgetary parameters until the 25th of July,” Mills said.

The Lester B. Pearson School Board’s new budget includes a 37 per cent cut to libraries — a directive it says it received from the Education Ministry.

But now, school officials may have to go back to the drawing board after the ministry announced funding for libraries would no longer be slashed.

“Books are going to be protected. It's true boards will get to choose how to spend their money, but I'm going to demand that books be protected,” Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc told CBC, adding that his ministry never asked boards to cut their library budgets.

All this comes as Bolduc apologized for remarks he made last week to a French language-newspaper.

He told Le Devoir no children would die if schools didn't buy new books.

The minister said he regrets that statement.