For the second time in 16 months, the Lafayette Parish School Board will be asked to relax educational requirements for bus drivers as a way to more easily fill vacancies.

Board policy currently requires that Lafayette Parish School System bus drivers have a high school diploma or its equivalent. The board will be asked to consider a policy revision that states a high school education is preferred — but not required — at its 5:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

The change is needed to help hire drivers at a time when the district plans to add more routes and buses to alleviate student overcrowding on the vehicles, Superintendent Pat Cooper has said.

The board also will be asked to approve the $381,260 purchase of five new buses to help add more routes.

In May 2013, then-transportation director Bill Samec asked the board to consider relaxing the educational requirements for substitute bus drivers to help fill vacancies. The board turned down the request.

The district hires bus drivers from its substitute driver pool and is currently seeking substitute drivers.

Last school year, it wasn’t uncommon for transportation staff to fill in for drivers because of the lack of substitutes.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.