KASB Live: Special Report on 2020 CensusScott Rothschild
School officials are being urged to get involved in the Census to ensure Kansas receives its fair share of federal dollars, including education funds, through an accurate count.
Wendi Stark, Census Outreach Manager for the League of Kansas Municipalities, and Rob Gilligan, KASB Government Relations Specialist, spoke recently about the upcoming Census on a special report of KASB Live. Here is a link to the video and here is a link to a PowerPoint presentation containing Census information. KASB has created a Census page on its website here and in the coming weeks, KASB will hold a series of regional meetings across the state that will include Census information.
While the Census count doesn’t start until April 1, 2020, preparations are necessary now to make sure every Kansan is counted, Stark and Gilligan said.
Stark urged communities to form Complete Count Committees, which are made up of local officials including education officials. These committees develop strategies to ensure everyone is counted, especially people in groups that are historically under-counted, such as young children, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, immigrants, renters who move often, those living in overcrowded housing units or gated communities, homeless people, the elderly and more. Ten percent of Kansans fit into the hard-to-count category.
“It’s so important to organize because you can develop strategies to identify the hard-to-count and reach the hard-to-count,” Stark said. “The more we prepare now, the more effective the Census process will be next year,” she said.
The stakes are high for an accurate count since billions of federal dollars flow to Kansas based on population, through programs such as Title 1, Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance, Head Start, infrastructure, transportation, emergency preparedness, disaster relief and many others. Kansas received $6 billion from 55 of the largest federal spending programs in 2016.
The Census Count is also used to re-draw political boundaries for congressional, legislative and local districts.
Local involvement is especially important during this count because the U.S. Census is underfunded compared with previous efforts, Stark said.
The Census can also be used as an educational tool for schools. The Census has developed a K-12 curriculum related to the count called Statistics in Schools. Here is a link.
For more information on the 2020 Census in Kansas, contact Stark at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gilligan at email@example.com. More information is also available at www.KansasCounts.org or on social media @KansasCounts on twitter and KansasCounts on Facebook. Here is a link to the U.S. Census website.