Indiana education and the US census: 7 ways it will affect schools

Mar 28, 2020 by

From federal funds to decisions about opening and closing schools, here’s how census data makes a difference for schools.

Census data helps to determine federal funds for school lunch and breakfast programs. (Photo: Provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture.)

Who does and doesn’t complete the 2020 U.S. census will influence Indiana’s K-12 students for a decade.

So it’s critical for everyone to fill out the decennial count, which impacts both funding and decision making for schools, said education leaders in the state.

Indiana receives roughly $1 billion in federal funds each year that are allocated using census data.

But that number should have been higher, said Terry Spradlin, executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association and leader of a U.S. Census committee to make sure every child in the state is counted.

Because of an undercount of roughly 18,000 kids age 9 and younger in 2010, Spradlin said the state didn’t receive an additional nearly $17 million per year over the last decade, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

He said those uncounted kids were likely those who split time in multiple households, are foster kids, live in homes where the adults don’t speak English or are homeless.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where we have the funding for fewer kids than we have,” said Keith Gambill, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. “So much of what we are counting on is assistance for those that are most vulnerable.”

In addition to funding, school leaders use census data to make building and attendance decisions.

continue: Indiana education and the US census: 7 ways it will affect schools

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