WTOC Investigates: How the 2020 Census will affect public schools

WTOC Investigates: How the 2020 Census will affect public schools

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Tens of thousands of local students are enrolled in public schools - schools that can’t survive without public funding. The U.S. Census plays a large role in that.

The point of the Census is to get an accurate account of where people are living to make sure the right amount of resources are being provided across various areas like transportation, housing, and education - resources that amount to the tune of more than $600 billion.

The U.S. Census aims to count every person living in America to make sure the billions of dollars are properly distributed. Local school officials will pay attention to the Census numbers once they're released because it has valuable information.

"How many people live in the area with school aged children, but also what areas of the county they live in,” said Sheila Blanco with Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. “That helps them determine things like whether a new school facility might need to be built, or whether a school facility may need to be expanded or whether some kind of redistricting might need to be done.”

The Census impacts federally-funded programs like the national school lunch program, title 1 grants, grants to help with educational services, and more. While the Census is important, school leaders factor in numerous other items when making big financial decisions.

“So, it’s something that we pay close attention to. It’s obviously not the only thing we pay attention to in determining those types of plans, but it’s something that helps us to get a grasp of what is going on our community right now, and determining the future.”

Some teachers will likely teach lessons on what the Census is and why it matters, due to its massive impact on schools.

The Census count officially starts on Jan. 21, but most people won’t receive a letter with instructions on how to complete the census until mid-March.

You’ll be able to complete it on paper and mail the form in. You can also complete your households for online or over the phone during business hours.

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