BAYONNE, NJ - Kenneth Kopacz wears many hats. Among them he’s a father of two, a career educator, and a member of the Hudson County Freeholder Board.
No matter what title he’s going by at any given time, Kopacz told TAPinto, he knows how critically important getting an accurate count in Census 2020 is for Hudson County, as well as each of its 12 towns.
“If our fight against COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that resources available to us from the federal government make a huge difference,” he said, adding that approximately $25 trillion will be distributed to communities across the nation through key government programs including those for child health, education, housing, and road construction over the next 10 years. “That money counts, that’s why we need to get counted.”
Currently working as Assistant Superintendent of Personnel for the Bayonne Board of Education, Kopacz said that not only has his entire career, first as a teacher, then as a vice principal and principal, shown him that classroom resources matter in the education of local children, so has his strong family connection to the profession.
“My parents were teachers, my two sisters are teachers, and my wife is a teacher,” Kopacz said. “Thank goodness my sister Kellie teaches Mathematics,” he joked, a skill necessary to figure out how many holidays and family gatherings have been spent discussing how to bring the most to their lesson plans, and get the most out of their students.
Whether it’s new buildings, additional teachers, adequate technology, or the ability to take students on class trips, there are few, if any, schools districts getting the funding they need to provide the full education children need to pursue future careers in a rapidly changing economy, according to Kopacz. “I would have said the same thing seven weeks ago,” he said, pointing to a time before this current health crisis shuttered schools for the academic year prematurely. “The job market had already been changing dramatically, and certainly in Bayonne we’ve been changing how we educate our children to reflect that.”
“The reality is we don’t know what the future of work is, let alone education, and I am concerned that without a proper count of our population we won’t be eligible for the funding we’ll so desperately need to shift as will be necessary.”
No stranger to the census process, Kopacz served as the Bayonne school district’s census coordinator in 2010, an experience that taught him that responding to the once a decade effort is both easy and safe. “In 2020 it’s even easier, a matter of spending ten minutes online,” he concluded, reiterating a message that Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise has expressed countless times. “That effort can make ten years worth of difference.
Sign up for TAPinto E-News alerts to be the first to read about all things local!
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Steve Lenox and tell him about it.