03/26/2015 03:39 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT

New Brunswick government suggests possible teacher cuts in provincial budget

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's education minister says he is considering a reduction in the number of teachers as a way to save money in next week's provincial budget.

Serge Rousselle says there are about 99,000 students in New Brunswick, down from about 125,000 in 2000.

But he says in that same time, the number of teachers has increased slightly from 7,363 to 7,425.

Rousselle says his department must look at student-teacher ratios, teacher contracts and other factors before making any decisions.

He won't say if reductions would be done through attrition or how much money his department aims to save.

Peter Fullerton, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, says the idea of cutting teachers goes against the Liberal government's promise to improve education.

He says the government has to take into account the total needs of students and not just money.

Finance Minister Roger Melanson says he's looking to find savings and new revenue of about $600 million in an effort to reduce a structural deficit and fulfil his government's spending plans.

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