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TCOE to help County take roll for Census

TCOE to help County take roll for Census

Tulare County Office of Education gets grant to help with hard-to-count populations for 2020 Census

@TheSunGazette

TULARE COUNTY – Educational institutions understand the importance of an accurate head count. It’s how they get paid, determines how many people they hire and weighs heavily in their decisions to implement programming and policy.

California’s Census office agrees which is why they’ve awarded the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) a $43,000 grant to help quantify hard-to-count populations. The Census Bureau defines hard to count (HTC) populations as those who fail to complete surveys due to language barriers, distrust of the government, etc.; low income households and households without a computer or internet access.

“A complete and accurate count of our county’s population is essential,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire. “Census data determines the number of seats our state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and the way billions of dollars in funds are distributed to state and local governments – including our schools.”

Through the grant issued by the California Complete Count – Census 2020 office, TCOE will partner with the County of Tulare and other government, social service, and education agencies to help convey the importance of participating in the decennial U.S. Census.

Beginning in March, the U.S. Census Bureau will distribute postcards to every household in the nation. Residents will be given a unique code which they can use to complete the census questionnaire online. The bureau hopes that 80% of all questionnaires are completed online.

This summer, TCOE received a $43,000 grant from the California Complete Count – Census 2020 office. Analyzing the data provided by the Census Bureau, Mr. Hire discovered that the majority of Tulare County’s 43 school districts have hard-to-count populations in some or all of their census tracts. In developing a strategic plan for the grant, TCOE proposed to partner with 14 school districts to create 19 Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QACs). The QACs will be staffed by district personnel who will be trained to assist residents in completing the census questionnaire online at select school sites during extended evening hours in March and April. The QACs will be located in both rural and urban districts with the hardest-to-count populations.

To support census awareness, the County of Tulare developed an information card entitled Census 2020 – Know Your Rights. The card, which is printed in English and Spanish, features information on the census process, how the information is collected, what it is used for, and what agencies it is shared with. The County has also organized the Tulare County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (CCC) which has been meeting monthly in TCOE’s Redwood Conference Center. Tulare County school districts are welcome to attend the meetings to learn about community outreach opportunities in their area.

For copies of the Know Your Rights cards or for a schedule of the Tulare County 2020 Census CCC meetings, please contact Robert Herman at robh@tcoe.org.

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