WINSTON COUNTY - An ingenious way to get people to fill out the census has begun, and it involves school children. The Alabama Census Bowl began Wednesday, Sept. 2, and all school systems in a selected 32 county area, can compete. This is nearly half of Alabama, some of the lowest census responding counties in the state.
The idea is to get as many self-responses on the 2020 Census as possible. Winston County, which is part of the lowest half of those counties not self-participating, signed up for the competition in August, throught he county commission. Winston County has received $1,500 to be distributed to the school system to use as promotion of any type of event related to the census, especially to help motivate students and administrators during the competition. The money can be spent on things such as flyers, t-shirts and even pizza parties. County participants are divided into the west half and east half of the state. This past week, Winston County competed against Monroe County. The winner, or the county who received the most responses on the census, will move forward to the next round the next week. Monetary prizes will be given along the way, and the champion county at the end of it all will receive $65,000 for their school system.
“The county government will act as the fiscal agent and apply for participation in the program by completing and signing an application form stating that they understand the program rules and requirements and that they will adhere to the funding requirements,” a statement read.
The competition will end Sept. 30, the last day the census can be taken. All citizens should go to my2020census.gov, fill out the form which was mailed or call (844) 330-2020 to take the census. Census takers are out now knocking on doors for those who have not responded yet.
Census information helps to provide needed data to the U.S. government to appropriate money and representatives accordingly and helps with marketing and research. The law states the census stays private for 72 years before it is released.
“We’ve sent out things to all of our schools about the importance of the census,” Winston County Superintendent Greg Pendley stated. “Often times having some competition, coupled with anything, sometimes drive people to do it because they want to win.
“It’s something all of our schools need to participate in. The census is a one in 10-year shot not to lose anything.”
Haleyville City Schools sent information home with students, according to Dr. Holly Sutherland, superintendent.
The statement discusses what the winners will receive:
• The competition will continue for four rounds and prizes will be awarded in October. Those eligible for prizes are the counties that win the first two rounds. After the third round, the counties not moving on but finishing in third and fourth place in their bracket will win $20,000 each. (four prizes of $20,000 = $80,000).
• The final four counties in competition round four will compete for their bracket grand prize of $45,000. The second-place county in each bracket will win $30,000 (two second place for $60,000 plus two bracket champions for $90,000).
• The bracket-winning county with the highest self-participation increase during the four- week contest period (Sept. 2 – Sept. 30) will win the state championship and an additional $20,000 with statewide bragging rights for 10 years. This means the state champion wins $65,000 total and the runner-up still gets $45,000.
Visit alabama2020census.com/census-bowl for more information.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.