Ed and Verma Pastor Elementary fourth-graders took part in an Arizona Kids Count event organized by the Arizona Complete Count Committee on March 5.
“The students have been working on a time capsule that is going to be ready and revealed in the next census in 2030 in the Roosevelt School District,” said Mabel Leal, a partnership specialist for Census 2020. “It’s also a celebration for Statistics in Schools.”
Video by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews: Arizona Kids Count event
Roosevelt School District Superintendent Dr. Quintin Boyce said Census 2020 is important for South Phoenix’s future, “and we know that everybody counts and so hearing that message, taking that gospel and sharing it with the broader community is incredibly important.”
An accurate Census count is essential, because “it determines funds for schools, lunches for our students and many other additional programs” that benefit students and families, Leal said.
“Kids, please remind your parents to do the census that starts next week, and remember, everyone counts,” Leal said.
Complete Count Committee Chairwoman Debbie Johnson asked students who the most important person in the room today is, then she told them that they are.
“We want to make sure that all kids like you around the entire state know that they need to be counted, so it’s up to you to tell your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and your uncles and you’re whole family that you count, and they need to make sure they count you,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that one in three houses in this census tract don’t get counted and Arizona’s Complete Count Committee wants to make sure that all households are included in Census 2020.
Each person counted in the census is worth about $3,000 to Arizona in funding for community programs, Johnson said.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego told students that if they are counted in the census that means “more dollars for our police, our firefighters, our parks, our libraries. They need your help. And I’m confident with today’s event we can get that momentum to get all our residents counted including residents under 10.”
“We are worried that in the last census we missed 50,000 kids under 10 years old, so we need you to go out and tell your friends that we deserve to be counted, because when you are counted it helps us get dollars for those essential city services. We need more books at our libraries. We need more parks. And you can help us create a better Phoenix,” Mayor Gallego said.
“The census and federal funding represents about $866 million annually for the City of Phoenix and that’s on top of what Director Johnson mentioned that $3,000 per person for the State of Arizona,” Mayor Gallego said. “When you stand up and are counted that’s a message to Washington, D.C., that says ‘Show me the money!’”
“Phoenix is the fastest growing city, and we want to make sure everyone is counted so we get our fair share of that money from Washington, D.C. It funds essential programs including schools, KidsCare, and HeadStart that help our young people, and we want to make sure we get every single dollar we deserve,” Mayor Gallego said.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman talked to students about how census funds impact them at their school.
“How many of you go to the Eagles Club after school program? Well, that’s one program that the census can help fund,” Supt. Hoffman said. “Do any of you get lunch from the cafeteria? The money from the census also helps make sure that we have good food in our cafeteria.”
“Arizona is growing, and we need to make sure that every single student is counted for all of our schools, educators and students like you,” Supt. Hoffman said.