A quarter-century after statewide education reform, some Kentucky communities and their elected officials — school boards, sheriffs, property valuation administrators and county attorneys — weren’t doing all they could to fund local schools, a Herald-Leader investigation found in February 2015.
The three-part series utilized a new digital storytelling tool within McClatchy, allowing the newspaper to present photos, interactive graphics, videos and databases at the appropriate places within the story.
- Part One: Undertaxed properties plague some of Kentucky’s poorest districts
- Part Two: Many school districts opt out of millions of dollars to educate kids
- Part Three: Thousands shirk tax bills, and Kentucky’s schools pay the price
The series began having an impact even before it was published. For example, Kentucky Fuel Corp., a company owned by West Virginia billionaire Jim Justice, started paying delinquent tax bills worth hundreds of thousands of dollars after the newspaper began asking questions. In Leslie County, local officials began an unprecedented effort to collect delinquent taxes following inquiries from the Herald-Leader.