The new year brings with it many new laws and changes, but the William S. Hart Union High School District wants you to know that 2020 also brings the U.S. Census, a vitally important national effort that will determine federal support for public education in the coming decade.
The State of California has created a schools-based outreach tool called “Count Me In” to help students in Kindergarten through the twelfth grade learn about the importance of census participation. Students will be encouraged to share information about participating in the census with their parents or guardians.
Hart District Governing Board Clerk, Dr. Cherise Moore, worked for the Census in 2000 in Arizona and understands how critical it is for everyone to participate in the 2020 Census. She shared “Santa Clarita, and in particular, the William S. Hart Union High School District has been identified as a hard to count area. For a variety of reasons, we have undercounting across the community. To get the federal support and resources we need, that has to change. I am asking everyone to be counted. It is safe and it matters to our students.”
The census does more than just count people and determine congressional districting. An accurate count assures the state, as well as the Hart School District, will receive fair federal funding that supports general and special education, before and after school activities, and nutrition. Over $675 billion in federal funding to states is on the line. California is anticipated to receive just $7 billion.
“Everyone counts, and that means everyone,” Dr. Moore said. “In the Hart District we serve students from diverse backgrounds. Santa Clarita demographics are changing. Being counted in the Census helps us know more about our community, so we can better serve the needs of our students. We are excited to support the efforts to have a complete count in Santa Clarita.”
The census will begin in March 2020, with the “official” census day April 1. New this year residents will be able to respond online by using a unique number, which you will receive by mail, allowing you to fill out the form online. Questions on the form pertain to your household and include how many people reside in your home, date of birth, race, sex, etc. This includes all children as well. Census workers will also be going door-to-door asking residents the same questions found online. The deadline to complete the census is April 30.
“California is determined to achieve a complete census count, where every Californian is counted,” said Ditas Katague, Director California Complete Count – Census 2020. “We’ve started early and are committing more resources than any other state to a robust outreach and engagement effort to reach all Californians.”
According to Title 13 of the U.S. Code, “The Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about individuals, households or businesses, even to law enforcement agencies.” This applies to those who may be in the United States illegally as well. Getting the right household count, regardless of immigration status, is vital for every student’s education.