STAFFORD — The 2020 Census is a subject Kansas schoolchildren — and children across the country — will be introduced to during the coming school year.
The U.S. Census Bureau prepared a Statistics in Schools (SIS) program with activities and data that can be used by teachers. The tools can be tailored for various classes — such as geography and mathematics — and activities can span ages from kindergarten through high school.
Representatives from the Kansas Association of School Boards told those attending a regional roundtable discussion for school board members Tuesday night in Stafford that the 2020 federal census is important to Kansas and school districts and the association will promote participation.
The Census is intended to count everyone living in the U.S. as of April 1, 2020. A person should be counted where he lives the majority of the time.
Census data will influence the distribution of federal dollars to states and determine the number of seats Kansas has in the U.S. House of Representatives. It also will shape how legislative boundary lines will be drawn in 2022. An undercounted area will be an underrepresented area.
Rob Gilligan, government relations specialist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, has been appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly to represent the association on the Kansas Complete Count Committee, established by Kelly. The committee can have up to 50 members and is intended to promote an accurate count.
If just 1 percent of Kansas is not counted, that could mean a loss of roughly $600 million in federal dollars flowing to Kansas over the next decade, Gilligan said.
Only one Census form is to be completed for a household. For some young parents, this will be the first time they personally will fill out a Census, said Sue Givens, field services specialist with the Kansas Association of School Boards.
Former state senator and Stafford USD 349 Board of Education member Ruth Teichman said school districts should put Census information on their websites. State Sen. Mary Jo Taylor, R-Stafford, former superintendent of USD 349, suggested school districts inform their staff members about the importance of the Census.
Gilligan said the Census Bureau will hire about 4,500 people for temporary positions in Kansas, offering pay of $13.50 to $14.50 an hour.
Teichman noted that she received an envelope that appeared to be an official Census mailing but inside was a fundraising request to send $10 for President Donald Trump’s campaign. She said she tore it up and threw it away.