School starts in two weeks, and the Lafayette Parish School System is still facing a critical shortage of about 40-50 teachers.

Angela Morrison, the district’s director of Community Collaboration and Partnerships, says certified and retired teachers are encouraged to apply, especially for hard-to-fill openings for subject-specific middle and high school teachers and special education instructors.

"Those are gonna be the toughest ones," Morrison said. "But the elementary education positions — we’re trying to fill those as quickly as possible."

We’re trying to fill those as quickly as possible.

Morrison says even though the recruitment process began as early as January, the Lafayette Parish School Board's ongoing deficit issue is discouraging teachers from accepting or keeping positions.

"This summer was very unusual with the budget process," Morrison said. "So with the unknowns, those potential candidates that we had recruited may have decided not to take a position with us, because they weren’t sure if they would be released soon after.”

Still, Morrison says it's unlikely the board will cut more positions. Superintendent Pat Cooper is set to present a new budget at tonight's budget meeting that would restore some teacher positions.

In neighboring Vermilion Parish, Superintendent Jerome Puyau says even though his district generally recruits teachers until the first day of school, it hasn't had a problem filling positions.

“We actually have seen an increase in teachers leaving other districts and coming to us," Puyau said. "So we’ve been very excited about the level and quality of teachers that are coming into Vermilion Parish.”

The Vermilion Parish School Board is still working on its 2014-2015 budget, which is set for finalization at an Aug. 18 committee meeting.

“We still came out positive (at the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year), and we forecast another great year," Puyau said.