Why Pinellas County is the worst place in Florida to be black and go to public school

Published Aug. 12, 2015

On Dec. 18, 2007, the Pinellas County School Board voted to end integration.

Board members justified the decision with bold promises. Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources.

For years after, they delivered none of that.

Instead, as black children started failing at outrageous rates, as overstressed teachers walked off the job, as middle class families fled en masse, board members stood by and did nothing, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.

The decision and the years of neglect that followed turned five once-decent elementary schools into the worst schools in Florida. Today, 95 percent of students at Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose can't read or do math at grade level.

Trace what happened to these schools on our interactive chart.

Our ongoing investigation continues Friday at