HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's education minister moved Monday to restrict the decision-making abilities of the province's seven English-language school boards ahead of their pending dissolution.

In a letter sent to the boards, Zach Churchill said a number of board matters and decisions will now require his approval ahead of the transition period to a single provincial advisory council.

"The transition period will be a significant undertaking that will require collaboration and co-operation from all education partners," Churchill wrote.

The letter said areas now in the immediate purview of the minister include; the approval of any new school board policies, transportation decisions, finance, operations, and staffing, and the initiation of any new school reviews.

Churchill said the boards must also continue to work with the department to implement universal pre-primary programming.

The boards were also warned that they would be immediately replaced if they don't follow the directives.

"I will be in a position to exercise my authority in accordance with ... the Education Act which states, 'The minister may appoint a person to carry out such responsibilities and exercise such authority of the school board as the minister determines and in such a manner as the minister determines and, to the extent the minister determines, the school board ceases to have such responsibilities or authority'."

The Liberal government announced last week that it was accepting a consultant's recommendation that the seven regional boards be eliminated.

Their dissolution can't happen until the government introduces legislation, expected sometime after the House of Assembly returns to work on Feb. 27.