“Counting” the reasons why Titans support Census

By:  Alivia Melius

Bettering the community calls for participating in the Census, so Tussey Mountain is “standing up” to be counted.  Each year, the federal government distributes funds of over $675 billion to states, counties and municipalities. This breaks down even further into school districts, social service programs, and organizations. From these shares, schools and educational institutions in central Pennsylvania, like Tussey Mountain, can be enriched by federal assistance through a “once-in-a-decade opportunity,” the 2020 United States Census.

Senior Kiersten Park talks with other concerned seniors about the impact of the Census on the Pell Grant program. Photo Credit: Alivia Melius

The 2020 Census provides several resources to schools across the United States. Through these funds, schools can attain assistance for programs such as Title I, Head Start, the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Unemployment Insurance Administration, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Career and Technical Education (CTE) and special education grants. To inform families about these benefits to the school district, Tussey Mountain plans to send out flyers provided by the Census Bureau explaining the upcoming Census’ advantages to the school and overall community.

“In school, [during] Problems of Democracy class, we learned about redistricting for the Electoral College, which is based on the Census,” senior Kaegan Thompson said. “I did not know that the Census also provides money that can help our school. We could get money through the population count of the area.”

“So much is based on how many people we have in the county,” Superintendent Jerry Shoemake said. “We base our legislature on the size of the population, not only for the state of Pennsylvania but also for the United States Congress.  Also there is a lot of funding that comes about as a result of the population, so it is very important that we have a really good look at where we are in terms of how many people live here.”

“The funding is important,” senior Aaliyah Morales said. “They could provide us with more resources to the students in our school. I have a class in child behavioral studies, so I have learned about the importance of early childhood education. Early education is important to fund because the brain develops so much in a child’s early youth. I am also on reduced lunch, and I think it’s important for all students to have lunch at school. Lunch is a need.”

“The fact that we have a large percentage of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, means that a large percent of our students also qualify for social services. In a lot of instances, [social workers’] funding is dependent upon how many people they have to take care of. They’re all funded based on population, so the more accurate the count we have, the more those funding sources are going to increase.” Shoemake added.

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