Two investigations by The Eye named finalists for education reporting honor

Two investigations by The Eye — one exploring problems at a private school for children with special needs and the other revealing perks for college presidents — were named finalists for the 2016 National Awards for Education Reporting (Investigative Reporting) by the Education Writers Association.

In the series “Special Needs, Troubled Schools,” Jenifer McKim, Koby Levin and Gary Putka examined the troubling record of runaways, alleged abuse and financial enrichment at the Chamberlain International School, a private school receiving public funds to teach students with mental health disabilities. A companion report by Shannon Dooling aired on Boston’s WBUR public radio, a partner on the project.

“This is an impressive and decisive takedown of a school that is both abusing its students and its budget,” one judge wrote about the series, as provided by EWA. “What made it so compelling: the level of detail, and the marriage of financial investigation with stories from students and families.” Read more from EWA.

In “How Perks Binge Sweetens the Pay of Massachusetts College Chiefs” and follow up stories, Jon Marcus used open records laws to identify the numerous benefits enjoyed by the heads of Massachusetts public colleges, in a time when they were seeking more funding from taxpayers.

“This is a strong, thorough package that clearly lays out the problem and resulted in action (albeit around the edges) to deal with very sweet pay packages for university leaders,” wrote one judge. Read more from EWA.

EWA describe the annual awards as “recognizing the top education stories in online, print and broadcast media across the country,” from outlets ranging from one-person bureaus to national news media.

The 36 finalists announced this week were chosen from more than 330 entries by 58 current and former editors and reporters. Winners will be announced May 31 at EWA’s National Seminar in Washington DC.

Read the EWA announcement, with a link to the full list of finalists.