A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKYEC: 2020 Census data critical to future education funding; educational grants help children

Education is vital to the success of our region, our residents, and our workforce. The following is part of a series of articles on the importance of education in Northern Kentucky. The series is produced by the Northern Kentucky Education Council’s Advancing the Big Picture Coalition. Each article focuses on a particular aspect of education, provides data and information from the community and its leaders, and ends with a call to action.

Americans rely on their government for aid after natural disasters – and most recently when the global pandemic struck our health and economy. Now during this unprecedented time, the government, community, and schools are relying on everyone’s participation in the 2020 Census. Since 1790, a Census has occurred every 10 years in the United States without fail. Even COVID-19 will not stop the efforts of those carrying out this Constitutional mandate.

Census information is imperative for multiple reasons – legislative representation, future planning and understanding population changes, public safety, health needs, and now more than ever – funding for education. Accurate Census counts allow schools to better plan and serve all children in their community. Children born today will be in elementary school before the next Census. Those school systems will use the 2020 Census data to plan staffing, provide adequate space, programming, and budget decisions to meet the needs of the students of the future.

Without everyone’s participation in this year’s Census, Northern Kentucky will lose millions of dollars in federal funding, leaving schools unprepared to best serve their student populations.

Jessica Dykes, Kenton County School District Community Engagement Director, explains the importance of Census data to their district.

“Data the Census provides is important for public education. The information collected in the 2020 Census impacts our funding for Title 1, Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and our Food Service Programs. These programs are vital for students with socioeconomic needs. The educational grants connected to the Census aid our children with their basic necessities. Without accurate data from state, regional, and community populations, our public school grants will not reflect our student body. The Kenton County School District supports the 2020 Census so that ALL students can receive a world-class education.”

We know that children arrive at school with diverse life experiences and challenges but each student deserves to be served and prepared for the workforce of the future. Dr. Randy Poe, retired Superintendent of Boone County Schools and current Executive Director of the Northern Kentucky Education Council commented, “The Census is very important to educational institutions. Census data is important because it impacts our ability to provide the resources needed to build academic resiliency that can make up for student achievement and experiential gaps. We eliminate achievement gaps by providing rich learning experiences – and all the funding and resources available to close the achievement gap come from Census data provided by the federal government.”
Some people are reluctant to participate in the Census – so let’s talk about this:

All personal information is kept confidential, and responses cannot be used against individuals in any way. In fact, by law, personal information cannot be shared with any government, private, or public entity. Information is only shared as aggregates – collective views of where and how people are living in the United States. This high-level look of population groups guides how over $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year for schools, health care facilities, roads, transportation, recreation centers, social services, and more. (Statistics in Schools, United States Census 2020)
Still hesitant?

There are a number of resources available to individuals uncomfortable or unable to read the forms. The Census provides help online and by phone for anyone needing assistance. The online questionnaire and call center are available in English and 12 other languages. In addition, the Census will provide help through its phone portal in 59 languages for those that do not speak or read English. Finally, Census takers will soon be donning safety gear to visit and help in homes that have not yet completed the survey. There are only 12 questions on the census for most people and the entire process should take less than five minutes to complete. There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census and remember… all personal information is kept strictly confidential.

Call to Action

Complete the 2020 Census today – it’s never been easier. These 3 easy options – by phone at 1-844-330-2020, online here, or by completing a paper copy that will arrive by mail – will make the work of the 2020 Census Team much easier. Each person that completes the Census will be helping Northern Kentucky fund schools, agencies, healthcare, and public services, receiving its full share of federal and state funding based on an accurate population count. Without full participation in this Census, we put excessive strain on the ability of schools to close academic and experiential gaps, to build academic resiliency, and to prepare a workforce for tomorrow’s society.
About Northern Kentucky Education Council

The Northern Kentucky Education Council is the region’s backbone organization for the alignment of education initiatives that support youth from birth to career and serves as a catalyst for collaboration, change and progress to attain regional education goals. The Council is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization comprised of education, business and community members. For more information about the Council, visit NKYEC.org or call (859) 282-9214.


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