LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish school system is pushing for more substitute bus drivers to staff routes for the upcoming school year, Transportation Director Bill Samec said Monday.

The district has about 30 substitute bus drivers to fill in for 290 full-time drivers, Samec said.

“If we have a 10 percent absentee rate — there you are,” Samec said.

Transportation department staff members leave the office to drive school buses when needed, he said.

Samec said recruitment for substitutes is beginning now to enable interested drivers to get some driving time as part of their training.

“With the holidays coming up, we only have about eight weeks of school left,” Samec said.

A substitute position with the transportation department could lead to a full-time job, he said.

Samec said the district recruits from its pool of substitute drivers to fill open positions, which creates another need for more substitute drivers.

He said he anticipates 10 retirements at the end of this school year.

“If that happens this year, which it will, I’m faced with not having enough people to put on buses,” he said. “In the long term, we’re recruiting full-time drivers.”

Applications for the substitute positions close March 28.

Drivers must have or obtain a commercial driver’s license with school bus and passenger endorsements and training options are available, according to the advertisement. The pay rates are up to $86 a day.