Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "school board" ...

  • Fox45: What Transparency Looks Like

    Baltimore is a city in crisis. Its murder rate is the highest in the nation. Its school system is among the lowest performing. For decades, its government has hidden behind a culture of secrecy and corruption. More than one year ago, Fox45 decided it had enough and challenged the status quo. On behalf of students, parents and taxpayers, Fox45 took the drastic step of suing Baltimore’s $1.4 billion school system - one of the nation’s largest. In the fall of 2017, when City Schools denied the entirety of a Project Baltimore public records request concerning the results of an internal grade changing investigation, Fox45 sued the school board. That internal investigation stemmed from a series of Fox45 reports which exposed a culture of grade fixing and pushing students through a broken school system. To date, Fox45 has accrued more than $100,000 in legal fees. But, so far, City Schools has been forced to capitulate. Bit by bit, over the year, they have handed over more than 10,000 pages of documents. And our fight is not over yet. The trial is scheduled for February 11. When it concludes, Fox45 will take another drastic step and send a strong message by filing a motion to recuperate our legal fees from Baltimore City Public Schools. “What Transparency Looks Like” was produced by Project Baltimore, a team of Fox45 journalists committed to a long-term investigation into Baltimore area schools.
  • Arizona Republic: The Charter Gamble

    Reporting by Craig Harris, starting in the spring, revealed one questionable deal after another with Arizona charter schools, as his reporting detailed how the industry had created millionaires through insider deals. By the time lawmakers were calling for reforms, The Arizona Republic built a team to take the next big bite. The deep dive by Harris, along with Anne Ryman, Justin Price and Alden Woods, spun out a five-part series that told the story of Arizona’s charter schools from inception to present day.
  • Politics in Cook County Schools

    In the April, 2015 Cook County elections, a number of local mayors, two state representatives and a township highway commissioner got actively involved in local school board elections. They paid for campaign mailers, palm cards and even robo-calls. When the Illinois State Board of Elections released campaign donation information for the second quarter of 2015, a web of cash and in-kind donations to local school board campaign committees was revealed. Three recurring donors showed up in the campaign contribution records for the politicians and school board committees. They are Del Galdo Law Group, Odelson & Sterk attorneys, and Franklin Park company Restore Construction.
  • Failure Factories

    On Dec. 18, 2007, the Pinellas County School Board abandoned integration. They justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources. They delivered none of that. This is the story of how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories.
  • Borrowing Trouble

    For years, Chicago taxpayers have been paying an exorbitant price for the faulty financial decisions of school officials – only they didn’t know it. Not surprisingly, leaders of the city’s public schools weren’t advertising the high costs of the losing bets they had placed in a risky debt market. Over the life of the deals, Chicago Public Schools will likely end up paying $100 million more than it would have if officials had stuck with traditional fixed-rate bonds. The story implicated state lawmakers, the school district's financial advisors, and the current school board president in the disastrous deals.
  • Rialto Unified Holocaust essay assignment

    The 26,000-student Rialto Unified School District in Southern California asked its 2,000 eighth graders this spring to write an in-class essay assignment on whether or not the Holocaust occurred, and gave students print-outs from a Holocaust denial site as one of three "credible sources" they were required to base their work on. The district initially claimed that no students had denied the Holocaust occurred, but after the students' essays were obtained through a California Public Records Act request, it turned out that dozens of students had done so, some of them earning high marks along the way. The revelation led to international condemnation, the establishment of a new lesson plan for the rising ninth graders, the departure of high-ranking officials within the district and may have contributed to the school board president choosing to not run for reelection.
  • Terrance Carter

    In the summer of 2014, Terrence P. Carter, a highly regarded “school-turnaround” administrator from the Chicago-based Academy for Urban School Leadership, was hailed by public officials and the local press in New London, Connecticut, as an innovator who could revive that city’s failing school system. After a national search, the school board in June voted unanimously to hire him as its new superintendent, effective Aug. 1. In early July the local newspaper, the Day of New London, reported that when Carter toured the city, he was welcomed with praise such as a pronouncement by the mayor that he was “the right fit at the right time for New London." But everything changed on July 18, when the Courant published an investigative story on its website documenting a pattern in which Carter had repeatedly claimed to have a doctorate, and referred to himself as “Dr.” or “Ph.D” for more than five years, without actually holding such a degree.
  • Superintendent's contract

    The Gazette’s investigation into contacts awarded the superintendent of Medina City Schools revealed unprecedented benefits, including the payment of more than a quarter million dollars in educational expenses that included college debts more than a decade old. The lucrative contract provisions remained hidden from the public because of the failure of the school board to properly publicize the contracts, in violation of Ohio’s Sunshine Law. They educational payment also escaped public notice because they were made from a county fund that was not included in the school district’s financial reports or annual audits.
  • NC superintendents’ contracts packed with perks

    I requested the contracts of all 115 public school superintendents in North Carolina and found that their six-figure salaries aren’t the only way they are compensated. Many receive thousands of dollars in bonuses each year, and some get special perks, such as cars, gym memberships, money for mortgage payments and extra vacation time. The contracts also revealed the lengths school boards were willing to go to get or keep a superintendent, including one school system that agreed to provide its new leader with a house and install a nearly $4,300 fence for her dogs – paid for with taxpayer money.
  • School Board Member Behind Deceptive Website

    This was a series of stories, with this one, 'CUSD Trustee Alpay Behind One of the Misleading Domain Names,' proving a sitting school board members was behind one of the sneaky website domain names designed to look like one political faction but redirecting internet traffic to the opposing faction. A number of groups and individuals were targeted by the trustee and one other political operative who had provided "campaign management services" to the the trustee. Most of these groups and individuals did not know the bogus URLs existed until contacted for comment by Patch.