The four-day investigation was reported by a team of reporters led by education reporter Tom Troy. The writers were Kelly Lecker, Mike Wilkinson, Larry Vellequette, James Drew and Rachel Smolkin.
Tom Troy, 44, has covered education for The Blade since 1995. A graduate of Towson University in Baltimore, Md., he worked for United Press International before joining The Blade in 1991. In 1997, Mr. Troy was one of a team of Blade reporters to examine how Ohio funds its education system.
Kelly Lecker, 28, is a projects reporter who covered crime in Fort Wayne, Ind. before coming to The Blade in 1996. She has written stories on several areas, including a three-day series examining the problems with large-scale farms in Ohio.
Mike Wilkinson, 36, has worked for The Blade since 1994 as both a reporter and editor. A 1985 graduate of the University of Michigan, he is currently the editor of the paper's Neighbors sections.
Larry Vellequette, 33, is a 14-year veteran of The Blade. A native of Toledo, he moved to Ida, Mich., at an early age. As a reporter, Mr. Vellequette covers Monroe County and Michigan issues. He is a graduate of The University of Toledo.
James Drew, 38, has covered government and politics for The Blade's Statehouse Bureau in Columbus since 1996. A graduate of Indiana University, Mr. Drew worked for the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News before coming to The Blade in 1989.
Rachel Smolkin, 26, joined The Blade's Washington Bureau covering health and education in April. She reported for two and a half years for Scripps Howard News Service after graduating from Brown University with a degree in political science.