The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 1:00 am

Schools look for precise census count

FWCS, Bluffton-Harrison commit to 2020 accuracy

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

School districts in northeast Indiana are joining the effort to ensure every Hoosier is counted in the 2020 census, and among those leading the way is Fort Wayne Community Schools.

The FWCS and Bluffton-Harrison MSD school boards Monday approved resolutions formalizing their commitment to helping the federal government get an accurate count of the state population.

Census data is used to distribute federal funds that support programs including Title I, special education and school nutrition.

State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick recently encouraged schools to promote awareness of the upcoming census because an accurate count will help schools get their fair share of federal dollars.

It is estimated that for every child missed in the count, about $1,000 in federal funds is annually lost for essential services, or $10,000 per child over the next decade, McCormick said in a Jan. 3 memo to Indiana school leaders.

“We can't afford to lose it,” FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson said of those estimates.

FWCS also is involved in a community-wide effort to ensure that residents of diverse communities are counted.

D. Faye Williams-Robbins – chief officer of student, family and community engagement – is participating in the Fort Wayne Complete Count Committee.

That committee work includes strategies targeting college students and children 5 and younger, two populations that are difficult to count, Williams-Robbins said.

FWCS board member Steve Corona praised Williams-Robbins for her involvement. He noted that educators are taking leadership roles at the local and state levels.

“One of the keys to getting people to participate is the importance of trusted sources who will encourage you to participate, and so many of those trusted sources are in our school buildings,” Corona said. “They're teachers, they're people in the lunchrooms. They're people who have a relationship with our students and our parents, and they need to be involved.”

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