The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting earned a special citation for investigative reporting in the 2011 National Awards for Education Reporting.

The story, “School of Hard Financial Knocks,” documented how Florida’s public school districts diverted federal money from education reform to patch holes in general operating budgets.

Torres’ investigation found that more than half of the $404 million in federal stimulus money given to Florida’s 14 largest school districts for education reform was actually used to help keep the schools themselves afloat, allowing school districts statewide to delay painful cuts that are only now being felt.

This is Torres’ second special citation from the Education Writers Association. Last year, she received recognition for “Virtually Worthless,” which discovered that a lack of regulation at federal and state levels has allowed online private high schools to issue diplomas not recognized as valid by the U.S. education community.