Be counted – it counts in Forsyth

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The 2010 United States Census is just around the corner, and I want to take this as an additional opportunity to stress that “it counts to be counted.”

For many people, the importance of the Census is one of those things that you don’t sit back and dwell on its importance. Somehow or the other, there are other things that seem to rank higher on our worry list. That may well be true, but just as Forsyth Countians have acted responsibly in many ways like supporting education, recycling, and politics, I want you to be aware that insuring extremely high participation in the U.S. Census is critical to the opportunities for this community and our State for the next decade.

What are some of the reasons why we should all participate in the census?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some of the reasons that we should participate in the Census is that, in general, Census data helps shape the future of our community and define our voice in Congress. Specifically, several illustrations include:

Census data help determine locations for schools roads, hospitals, child-care and senior citizen centers.

Businesses use census data to locate supermarkets, shopping centers, new housing and other facilities.

Government officials use census data to allocate funding and grants to high-need areas and non-profit organizations.

Due to the growth in Georgia and Forsyth County during the past decade, our participation is especially critical in this year’s Census. Currently, Georgia has 13 members of the United States House of Representatives. It could well be that in the upcoming reapportionment, based on the Census, we could gain a representative. Furthermore, it may likely shape district lines for our State Representatives and Senators.

Why do some people hesitate or fail to participate in the Census?

It seems that some people don’t participate in the Census because they fear that for some reason the information won’t be kept confidential. Census officials assure us that confidentiality is required by law and cannot be shared with other government agencies to include immigration officials.

When will the Census be taken?

The actual date identified as Census Day is April 1, 2010, but Census questionnaires will be sent to households in February and March.

Our Board of Education has approved a resolution supporting the Census as they recognize the importance of this once every decade event. Personally, I saw the 2000 Census result in the loss of nearly over a million dollars in technology funds in my previous school district due to dropping below the threshold for eligibility. I have often wondered what if just five more individuals had completed the census in the particular count category? That is all it would have taken to have made us eligible for funds that we otherwise were ineligible for.

Your Thoughts on the Census?

How many people do you think the Census will end up reporting living in Forsyth County?

Why do you think many people may be hesitant to participate in the Census?

What are some things that we can do as a community to promote greater participation?

Bonus Question for the astute political scientists – How will this year’s Census end up impacting our State and U.S. Representative Districts in Forsyth County?

Thank you again for your valuable input into the thinking of how we can become an even greater community and school district. Thanks as well for your thoughts and comments!

For more blogs by Superintendent Evans, visit www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.