AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin ISD trained Central Texas ambassadors for the 2020 U.S. Decennial Census Monday morning.

Exterior of AISD performing arts center where training was held (Todd Bailey/KXAN)

AISD held the training session at its performing arts center in northeast Austin. Their parent engagement support office is behind the effort.

The goal is for their “parent support specialists” to become familiar with what’s expected of the census, how it works, etc.

Community leaders, PTAs and others attended the training. (Todd Bailey/KXAN)

Leonor Vargas, Administrative Supervisor for parent programs in AISD kicked off the training. Her position’s role is essentially overseeing family engagement within the district.

She said of how the 2020 census affects the school district:

“The census data is used to determine federal funding,” Vargas said. “We as a district depend on federal funding. One good example is for our free and reduced lunch program. A good majority of our students rely on that program.”

She said other programs impacted include educational, SNAP, Medicaid/Medicare, etc.

AISD hopes families and communities get their fair share of federal funding for:

  • Schools
  • Roads
  • Healthcare
  • Libraries
  • Social services

But it reaches beyond financial rewards. Accurate representation is also important.

It’s important for us to know who lives in our community, who lives in our state. And, you know, for various reasons. For us, we’re approaching this from the well-being and future of our families. Well-being meaning education of their children, health services, transportation, etc.


Count committee connection

District representatives talked through slides of information for ambassadors. (Todd Bailey/KXAN)

Austin ISD announced the launch of a district-wide coordinated outreach effort last year in November, which should not come as a surprise since AISD actively participates in the Austin-Travis County Complete Count Committee.

The committee strives to count all people in Travis County for the Census, per their press release. It is particularly focused on hard-to-count populations, which include infants and young children.

RELATED: Officials fear Texans could lose out on millions in upcoming census count

The school district also has a designated Census coordinator who gathers information and provides it to campuses and the community. This coordinator provides assistance to parents and arranges visits for Census Bureau representatives at committee meetings and district functions.

The district will work in partnership with the Mayor’s office, city and county to provide “hub sites” for census government workers to help their families.

First-time online option

Past options only included print and over-the-phone. Vargas shared her feelings about this new, first-time alternative option:

2020 census jobs

The U.S. Census Bureau is also recruiting to fill hundreds of thousands of temporary positions across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count, per their website. Check out the website’s map to see what pay rates are for Travis County.