EDMONTON - The Alberta government is slashing this year's education budget by $80 million as the province grapples with a record $7 billion budget deficit.

Education Minister Dave Hancock outlined details of the cost-cutting measures in a conference call Thursday with the province's 62 school boards. The minister says $56 million will come from school boards and the rest from savings found within his department.

But he says about half the savings will be achieved by clawing back money that school boards were given in the past but have yet to spend.

Hancock also warned school boards to prepare for significant budget cuts next year as the province scrambles to trim $2 billion from its growing deficit.

Both the teachers union and the Alberta School Boards Association say they are fearful of what next year's cuts will mean for both students and jobs.