translation instructionsBelow is Superintendent Suttmeier’s March 2020 column. This month’s topic is the 2020 census and how your responses can influence federal funding for school districts and communities.

You can quickly and easily take the United States 2020 Census online right now. The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete and it’s safe, secure, and completely confidential. Your information and privacy are protected. Click here to take the 2020 Census online today.

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about the census.

District Insights: The 2020 Census & Its Impact on Schools

Our nation’s communities and public schools have billions of federal dollars at stake as the 2020 census quickly approaches.

 

You might not have thought much about the census in the past but participating in it is more important for the Hudson City School District and our students than you may realize.

 

Did you know your responses to the census impact how much of the $675 billion in federal funds are given to our community, our school district and our students over the next decade?

 

Those of us who have lived in Hudson for a long time know there have been many changes to our community. The past few decades have brought new families, new businesses and more diversity to our corner of the Hudson Valley. This means a lot of changes to our school and our student population.

 

Without accurate census data, the Hudson community risks losing valuable federal funding to support programs and services that are critical for schools and students. This includes maternal and child health programs, early childhood education, and Title I funds that provide financial assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families. These funds are critical to our district’s efforts to close the achievement gap and provide all students with the opportunity to excel academically.

 

Federal food assistance programs such as free or reduced-price school lunches are also affected by census data. This is especially important for our district where more than 70% of students qualify for and rely on free school meals (up from 57% since the last census). Income data helps to ensure the continuation of the Community Eligibility Provision in our district so we are able to provide free breakfast and lunch to all Hudson students with no application required.

 

Having accurate information about our changing community means we can better understand what funding and programs are needed to best support students in our district. For example, in 2009 there were 111 students at HCSD classified as “Limited English Proficient.” In 2018, the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) at HCSD was recorded as 169 (the highest number of any school district in Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer Counties). This fact highlights the need to support our growing population of ELL students and help them with the tools required for academic success in their new language environment.

 

Support for public school services and programs is just one of many reasons why an accurate census count is crucial to communities like Hudson. Census data also determines how much federal funding is provided to the community for things such as job training programs, local community improvement construction projects, medical facilities and many other social services.

 

Counting everyone in the census is not an easy task and children under five years old are often the biggest group of undercounted individuals in the census. This is a problem considering young children stand to have their entire childhoods impacted by our responses to the 2020 census. For this reason, we must ensure that we provide accurate information about all young children on census forms. This information will largely influence how much federal funding is provided to our community for our schools, daycares and food assistance programs.

 

Starting in mid-March, be sure to check your mailboxes for official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 census online, by phone or by mail.

 

It’s important to remember that your responses are confidential and your personal information cannot be used against you. You will be asked about the people living in your residence but you will not be asked about citizenship status or bank account information. Your responses are fully protected under federal law and used for statistical purposes only by the U.S. Census Bureau. No other government agency or court system can use or even access your census responses.

 

By participating in the 2020 census, you will be shaping the HCSD community’s future for the next 10 years and beyond. We appreciate your time and attention to this important survey and respectfully ask you to pass the word to others you know.


Questions & Answers About the Census

What is the census?

A census is a procedure of collecting and recording demographic information about members of a population. The U.S. Constitution requires that everyone in the country be counted every 10 years. The first census occurred in 1790.

The primary purpose of the census is to ensure accurate representation in our government. The census determines how many seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are given to each state (based on population). Census data also determines how much federal funding is provided to the community for things such as job training programs, local community improvement construction projects, medical facilities and many other social services.

What questions will be asked?

You will be asked how many people are living or staying at the address. For each person, including all young children, you will be asked to provide information such as their name, sex, age and race. You will also be asked about your household income, what type of housing unit you live in (e.g., house, apartment, mobile home) and if your residence is owned or rented.

The census does NOT ask for citizenship status, bank account information, your full social security number, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party.

Are my responses confidential?

Yes, your responses are completely confidential and your personal information cannot be used against you in any way. Your responses are fully protected under federal law and used for statistical purposes only by the U.S. Census Bureau. No other government agency or court system can use or even access your census responses. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Why should I participate?

The distribution of more than $675 BILLION in federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities is based on census data. That money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital services and programs. This includes maternal and child health programs, early childhood education, and Title I funds that provide financial assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families. These funds are critical to our district’s efforts to close the achievement gap and provide all students with the opportunity to excel academically. Food assistance programs such as free or reduced-price school lunches are also affected by census data. This is especially important for our district where more than 70% of students qualify for and rely on free school meals during the week.

Without accurate census data, the Hudson community risks losing out on its share of this valuable federal funding.

How do I respond to the census?

Be sure to check your mailboxes for official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail. You can also quickly and easily take the United States 2020 Census online right now. The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete and it’s safe, secure, and completely confidential. Your information and privacy are protected. Click here to take the 2020 Census online today.