Wednesday marks the deadline to complete your census response.
Pickett and Clay County are the only two Upper Cumberland counties with a census response rate below 50 percent. Pickett School Director Diane Elder said the lack of response could mean lost federal funding for the school system.
“The census determines the amount of funding we get for the next funding year,” Elder said. “It is very important to our public schools, to all public schools.”
Elder said the school system uses the funds to hire special education assistants and other specific teachers to fill needs the schools have. She said without the federal revenue component for schools, the county could be forced to raise tax rates in the future.
Without proper census data the school district may not be able to apply for certain grants, Elder said.
“Some of the grants are competitive and some are not,” Elder said. “But some of the grants you have to put in the percentage of your free and reduced. It does affect our federal funding, and depending on higher numbers you get on your census, of course, you have more data there to use when you’re competing for those grants.”