Officials at one of the largest school districts in the St. Louis area say they overbuilt the district in preparation for a population surge that never happened.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Hazelwood school district has capacity for 22,000 students but had only 17,889 students this year. District officials are now advertising and marketing to recruit students to fill the many empty desks.
District officials blame the excess classroom space on the recession that started in 2008, leading to housing foreclosures and job losses.
Communications director Kimberly McKenzie is leading a committee studying why an average of 3,100 Hazelwood students leave the district every year. McKenzie says many students leave for private schools so there will be a heavy recruitment focus on those students.