When it comes to funding our children’s education, counting each individual resident in the 2020 Census is vital.

In 2016, the annual cost to educate a child was $7,613 which equates to nearly $100,000 per child from kindergarten through high school graduation, according to Governing: The Future of States and Localities, a research publication dedicated to state and local government. The basic education cost can increase every year and does not include capital outlays or interest on debts. State funds and local property taxes are a primary source of funding for our schools.

The 2020 Census count impacts federal funds we receive each year for programs and services critical for our schools and children. These essential programs include Head Start, special education, after-school programs, child health programs, free and reduced lunch programs and classroom technology. State and federal decision makers rely on census population counts to determine where new schools are needed and where to distribute millions of dollars that help pay for teachers, textbooks and other educational expenses.

That is why we need every resident to be counted. Responding to the 2020 Census will generate funds to help shape resources for our children and communities for the next decade. Which children do you count? The general rule is to count all of the children who live and sleep most of the time in Santa Cruz County.

Households have begun receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census. By April 1, 2020, every home should have received their personal invitation to participate. Everyone will have the choice to respond online, by phone or by mail. Computers will be available to complete your census at public libraries, as long as they remain open.

By law, personal information from the 2020 Census will not be released to any individuals or agencies for 72 years, which is not until 2092. It is safe, confidential, it is important.

Please help us shape our children’s education in Santa Cruz County for the next 10 years by completing the survey and being counted in the 2020 Census.

Alfredo Velasquez

County Superintendent of Schools

Kenny Hayes

Interim Superintendent, Patagonia Schools

Fernando Parra

Superintendent, NUSD

Kathy Romero

Superintendent, Santa Cruz Elementary School District

David Y. Verdugo

Superintendent, SCVUSD

Mary Faley

Superintendent, Sonoita Elementary School District

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