If you have ever had to cut your household spending, you know it makes you rethink each of your expenditures, your priorities, your life even. When school systems and universities face big budget cuts, likewise, it’s a chance for some soul-searching—and for journalists, it should be a chance to ask some tough questions. How big is the district’s work force compared to its student enrollment, and how have those numbers been moving over the last decade? How much do employees contribute to health care premiums and what are their copays?
What kind of retirement packages are top administrators getting? How big are class sizes, especially for electives in middle and high school? Budget conversations can, and should, go beyond how many people are (or aren’t) hired and fired, so the journalism should too.