As the school year kicks off, Montreal’s biggest French school board is facing a teacher shortage.

Enrollment in French schools has skyrocketed lately, with an average increase of 1,000 students a year.

“We’re forecasting for the next five years another 7,000 new students, which means new classrooms and new teachers,” said Marie-Josee Mastromonaco of the Commission Scolaire de Montreal.

The commission said it needs to immediately hire at least 70 full-time teachers.

The situation has gotten so dire that substitutes and retirees are filling in.

In NDG, the English Montreal School Board is facing a similar shortage of French-speaking teachers.

Some schools are hit particularly hard, because they need the teachers for subjects like history and math.

“French teachers have become more difficult to find because of the refugee influx,” said EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen. “The French board got a lot of students who were not eligible for our board, therefore the need for French teachers became much more significant.”

One of the reasons for the shortage is the salaries for entry-level teachers.

Philippe Couillard announced on Wednesday that if he’s re-elected, the starting salary for a teacher will increase from $45,000 to $53,000.