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.
Times education reporters Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner and investigative reporter Michael LaForgia spent a year tracing how Pinellas County School District leaders have neglected their neediest schools. The articles were written while LaForgia was participating in the National Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Journalism.
Scroll down for the story of how district leaders turned five once-average schools into failure factories.
Part One: How the Pinellas County School Board neglected five schools until they became the worst in Florida — First they abandoned integration. Then they failed to send help. Now, five once-decent schools in St. Petersburg are among the very worst in the state.
Interactive: Why Pinellas County is the worst place in Florida to be black and go to public school — A series of charts that sheds light on the county's alarming failure rate.
School Board survey: Members of the Pinellas School Board respond — We asked questions about the five schools in the series. Here are their responses.
Follow this story: Sign up for emails about upcoming installments in this investigation