By Makenzie O'Keefe


DENVER (CBS4)– The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 Census — for the time being. The census will be a deciding factor on the annual allocation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding to communities across the state.

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Many of those programs include essential school programs and services.

“It’s everything from the Title I program which benefits a lot of kids in Denver with reading, to breakfast and lunch programs,” explained Rosemary Rodriguez with Together We Count Colorado. “It even funds special education.”

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Together We Count Colorado is a census engagement project that helps people to understand how the census impacts our community. They’re working with Denver Public Schools to ensure that every student in DPS is fully represented.

“These programs are essential to Denver kids,” Rodriguez said.

DPS says one of the census-funded programs is Head Start. It’s an early childhood learning program for struggling families.

Sara Molina, a mother of two, says the program has been life changing for her family. Her son is in the Head Start program at Family Star Montessori.

“I am in transitional housing and graduate next month,” Molina said. “Family Star has literally helped me every single step of the way.”

Supreme Court (credit: CBS)

Molina said she knew her son would learn and grow there while she worked and went back to school. She said her son Patrick has learned to walk and his speech has improved greatly.

“They’ve supported me with his growth and being mindful of that,” she said. “They really teach a lot in the classroom and Patrick’s just, he’s a chatterbox now.”

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DPS released a statement on Thursday saying in part: “DPS embraces our diverse students, families and communities — including our immigrant communities and a full count in the 2020 Census will help ensure that every student in DPS is fully represented.”

Together We Count Colorado said the temporary block of a citizenship question on the census is good news.

“We think it has a chilling effect and might discourage certain families from participating,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t want that. We encourage participation so every student is represented and these programs are funded.”

The organization will be training teachers with Denver Public Schools to have conversations about the importance of the census and the federal funding it provides.

Makenzie O'Keefe

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