PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia School District has way more empty seats in its classrooms than first thought.

As enrollment declines and more kids go to charter schools, the school district finds itself with a lot of empty seats.  And a new study shows it’s a bigger issue than first believed, acccording to Danielle Floyd, the school district’s deputy for strategic initiatives.

“We actually believe that our excess capacity is now more at 70,000.  Not at 45,000,” Floyd told KYW Newsradio on Thursday.

Why is that important?  Deputy superintendent Lee Nunery says the district still has to staff and maintain buildings that aren’t full.

“If you’re spending money on empty seats,” he says, “you can’t redeploy that where it needs to be — in the classrooom.”

So the district is now deciding whether some schools need to be closed or consolidated.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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