City turns to schools for census help

Amber Willard

BURBANK -- Although the city has surpassed its initial 74% target

census response rate, local officials are continuing efforts to get

residents to mail back forms and open their doors to census counters.

City employees have delivered 2,400 fliers to three elementary schools

in areas with lower returns for children to take home to their parents.

"In the three highlighted tracts, the (percentage of) responses was

still higher than many whole cities," said Barbara Lazar, who is

organizing the census program through the Community Development office.

Returns in the three areas - portions of Media District North, South

San Fernando District and Media District West - landed in the mid-60%

range, about 10% less than the city's overall initial response rate.

Because those areas have many Spanish-speaking residents, fliers were

in both Spanish and English. The targeted elementary schools, William

McKinley, Providencia and George Washington, were chosen over junior high

and high schools because city officials felt the chance of parents

receiving the fliers was greater.

"It tells them how to get a form and reminds them to send it back (if

they already received the form)," Lazar said, adding that the fliers also

remind parents that their answers are confidential and that completing

the census will help both them and the city.

In the 1990 census, Lazar said the city estimated its population was

undercounted by 2.2%, resulting in potential state and federal funding

losses of $2.5 million during the past 10 years.

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