Friday, February 29, 2008

Virginia School Census Information

This has been making it's rounds today and we figured we'd share it here:

2008 Triennial School Census Begins!

Virginia law requires local school divisions to report a census of children ages five to 19 every three years. January 1 through July 15, 2008, is designated as the period during which the 2008 Triennial School Census will be conducted and completed. The census counts are used to apportion state sales tax revenues that are set aside to support public education.

According to the Virginia Code §22.1-281 [] through §22.1-286 [], school divisions are required to submit a summary count of all persons, ages 5-19, who reside in their counties, cities, and towns. This includes public and private school students, homeschoolers, and dependents living on federal military property. Children away from home, in college, or in the military must also be counted.

How Will the Information Be Collected?

The data may be collected by the division superintendent's office in several ways:
1) by a survey mailing,
2) by a phone call, or
3) by a door-to-door survey.

What Is the Purpose?

This census is an important planning tool for public school divisions. Based on school census data, each locality will receive approximately 1% of sales tax revenues for public schools. Locally, the school division uses the data to plan for construction of new schools and to identify future staffing needs.

What Information Will Be Collected?

Information on the survey may not be limited to the number of children in your home. The district may also "gather statistics related to the interests of education" as deemed necessary by the superintendent.

Most districts assure families that the information provided will NOT be used for any other purpose but the census. Only a summary count (no names or addresses) from the census will be used by the Commonwealth of Virginia to determine the distribution of sales tax and other monies to counties, cities, and towns.

Do Homeschoolers Have to Participate?

It is the responsibility of each school board to make sure the census is taken at the proper time and in the proper manner. However, the law does not state residents are required to supply information for the census. If you prefer not to give out personal information, you may simply state, "I do not care to participate in the survey." The decision to participate is up to each individual family.

Is More Information Available?

You may view the Department of Education 2008 School Census information here. []

*************NOTE FROM YVONNE

Participating in the census should not have a negative effect on a family's homeschool status. If you decide not to participate, be aware some census takers may become very aggressive. It is their job to get a complete count. Obviously, including your children in the census will help the local school district financially; however, census takers are not allowed to harass families. If there is a problem, ask for the number of the census taker's supervisor and report the incident.


Yvonne Bunn, HEAV Director of Government Affairs

Home Educators Association of Virginiae-mail: legislative@heav.orgp