With the first day of school in Halifax only a few days away, the school board is still searching for French teachers to fill 33 openings.

A memo has been sent to all teachers looking for those who are qualified to teach French immersion and core French positions.

Halifax Regional School Board spokesperson Doug Hadley says similar situations have happened in the past.

"French immersion is traditionally a harder to fill position because we need the language requirement,” says Hadley. “This is the first time we've sent an email out to staff about French immersion, but we did the same thing last year about guidance."

Hadley says the school board has advertised openings for French teachers all summer, and Friday's memo was one last push for applicants before some qualified teachers have to be repositioned.

"What's happened in the past and will happen if we don't fill every position is they will start in English and transition into French, as we have someone qualified language-wise to teach that course," Hadley says.

In a written statement to CTV News, Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Liette Doucet said they are unaware of any teachers being asked to move, adding, “We know this memo has created a great deal of stress for teachers about to begin their school year. We are very concerned and are monitoring the situation closely."

Opposition education critic Tim Halman blames the McNeil government's focus on bringing in a new pre-primary program for the oversight.

"This is a government that doesn't have a long-term plan when it comes to education,” Halman says. “They're so fixated on bringing in a new program, they've failed to recognize that there are clear identified problems in our education system."

In a statement, the Department of Education told CTV News the school boards are responsible for staffing in their regions, stating they are “aware that the HRSB is continuing to work to fill French teacher positions, and are confident in their ability to do so.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.