UPDATE: The 2020 Census is still coming! But due to the two-week dismissal of all public schools in Utah, Canyons District’s “We Count Week” has been postponed. As a preventive measure, in alignment with recommendations by state health and education authorities who are working to preempt the spread of COVID-19, Canyons District has postponed all school-related census activities and events, including the open house completion events we had previously scheduled for March 16-20. This also means that, for the time being, we will not be making computing devices available to families who need help completing the census online. We hope to be able to reschedule these events and activities, and will share more information as soon as we confirm new dates and times.
School lunches. Special education grants. Training for teachers and support for families in need. Census results, and the programs and resources tied to them, affect our students every day.
A complete headcount of everyone living in the country, the census only comes around once every 10 years, and the time to be counted — and to make sure your community receives its fair share of federal funding for schools — is coming. This month, every person living in Utah will take part in the 2020 Census. It’s possible to respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail starting March 12. It takes only 10 minutes, the information is kept strictly confidential, and if you don’t have access to a computer at home, we can help.
Join us for “We Count Week,” March 16-20, and come complete the census at one of four Canyons District-sponsored Open House events (see dates and locations below). The events are free and open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m. Computers will be provided along with basic instructions for completing the census online. Translation services also will be available. Can’t make it to one of these events? Drop by any Canyons District elementary school between March 16 and May 1, and check-in at the Main Office where staff will have computing devices available for those who don’t have access to the Internet at home.
Also, during “We Count Week,” Canyons teachers will be talking to students about the census, how it’s a cornerstone of our democracy and how to put census statistics to everyday use.
When you complete the census, your responses will be kept secret. No law enforcement agency, employer nor landlord — no one — will be able to access your personal information. The raw numbers collected, however, are made public and are of great value. “The demographic data collected through census provide a snapshot of our state and nation, who we are and where we live. Businesses use the data to decide where to locate. Local leaders use it to track growth in jobs and construction, and determine where to invest in roads and public transportation,” says CSD’s Associate Director of Instructional Supports Jesse Hennefer. “It’s great information for helping to bring social studies and math lessons to life.”
Since 1790, this Constitutionally-required count has helped determine the number of seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Census results also help determine how billions in federal funding flow into states for special education classrooms, teacher training, after-school programs, school lunch assistance, and more.
“Children have a lot at stake in the census, and they’re also at greater risk of being uncounted,” says Canyons Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud. For every person missed in the count, states end up paying more money in taxes than they receive to pay for these programs, which in Canyons District, are valued at nearly $17 million — and that’s just the beginning.
In 2016, the state of Utah and its local governments received $5.7 billion in federal funding based on formulas that rely on census data. That’s about $1,870 per Utahn, money that helps communities restore wildlife, respond to wildfires, or expand access to affordable housing and child care. The list goes on.
So please, make sure you and everyone you know is counted, and take a moment to talk about the census with your family and children.