Special School Funding Guide Helps Schools Prepare for Reopening
As the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveils new guidelines for how schools can safety reopen, many school administrators, principals, and public safety officials across the country are concerned about how they will be able to pay for equipment like two-way radios and megaphones.
Whether it is for purchasing recreational equipment, campus anti-virus protection, or communications equipment like two-way radios, Discount Two-Way Radio has created a special "School Funding Guide for Two-Way Radios" as a valuable resource for schools who need help strategizing on how to find money for safety equipment.
Inside this guide you will find:
- A brief introduction as how how important 2-way radios are for school safety.
- A FREE grand writing checklist to make sure you include all of the necessary information in your next grant request.
- A list of active government grants specifically earmarked for your geographic region.
- A how-to list of how to apply for corporate grants, and links to real corporations that are offering money NOW to schools for communications equipment.
You can download your FREE guide here.
Just How Would FY21 Budget Reconciliation Money Be Spent?
According to education reporter Matt Barnum, while President Joe Biden is proposing to infuse more than $130 billion into overall spending for state and local K-12 schools to help recover from the COVID-19 virus attack, not much of that money is earmarked for communication and safety equipment. The Budget Reconciliation Bill divides money for schools into the following categories:
- Social Distancing: $50 billion would be spent for social distancing including creating spacing between seats and desks, modifying learning stations, and redesigning learning activities.
- Layoff Prevention and Budget Gap Closures: Approximately $60 billion would be used to save more than 650,000 jobs
- Boosting Health Staff: More than $3 billion would be used to ensure that at least one nurse or another trained public health professional is on campus to operate during the health crisis.
- PPE Equipment and Other Materials: $9.5 billion would be used to purchase face masks and plastic barriers for desks and learning stations.
- Closing Digital Divide: Because students have been separated from a formal classroom for so long, $46 billion will be invested to improve the social and emotional needs of the nation's children.
However, to ensure school's have the sufficient budget to cover items like cameras, communications equipment, and additional school resource officers, school principals, administrators, and even school resource officers should be familiar with other funding sources.
That's why Discount Two-Way Radio created it's "School Funding Guide for Two-Way Radios" a guidebook that has a full list of potential private and government grants for two-way radio, safety, and communications equipment.
How Schools Typically Allocate Money
While the concept of budgets is not an uncommon subject for businesses and individuals, the budget process in public schools operates very differently. For example, while most public and private organizations or businesses allot approximately 35 to 40 percent of their budgets tied to the HR function, whereas somewhere between 80-85 percent is spent on the same areas in public schools. The remaining 15 percent of the typical school budget gets splintered into several areas.
What are the major budget categories for school districts?
While specific budget lines and items vary district to district and state to state, there are broad general categories that apply to most schools. These categories include, but are not limited to:
- Transportation ‐ this covers the vehicles and drivers needed to transport students
- Facilities – from paint, to structural repairs, this category applies to anything that helps keep the school clean and maintained.
- Energy ‐ when the school is cold during the winter and heat is required or when the lights are used to illuminate classrooms all fall under this line item.
- Health and Safety ‐ this area covers making sure there is a nurse available to care for a sick student, and safety measures include equipment like two-way radios, and on campus security.
- Food Services ‐ this item covers providing nutritious, affordable breakfasts and lunches to students.
- Library Services ‐ anything that involves the library and librarians to help provide research assistance and other resources for students.
- Counseling Services ‐ this category covers any counseling, or testing prep work, and even includes drug/alcohol abuse programs.
Two Examples of Improving School Safety Regardless of Budget Concerns
However, even though school budgets are tight, many schools are moving ahead with their own safety measures, such as adding more school resource officers, adding additional security equipment like security cameras and two-way radios, and even creating data-sharing agreements among state and federal agencies.
Another example of a school that did not let the “budget vs. safety” dilemma catch them off guard was a Community School District in Indianapolis
The school administration knew their current communication system was inadequate to help them deal with these all-too-common tragedies. Specifically, they had no way to instantly alert all their member schools simultaneously if an “incident” were to occur. In addition, they also had these issues:
1. Their regular phone systems were too slow. Phone systems are one-to-one communication, and in an emergency, you have to have one-to-many communication.
2. Their current analog two-way radio systems didn't allow users to override regular communication in order to deliver emergency warnings. And unless everyone (at every school) happened to be on the same channel, one-to-many communication was impossible.
During any school emergency, reliable communication is the key. So, the district knew they needed a better way to communicate with all its schools, and they wondered if a new radio system could be the answer. But would they be able to get everything they needed? They had received a grant from the state for new radio equipment, but would it be enough?
That’s when they found Discount Two-Way Radio (DTWR) and our exceptional service team. DTWR was able to expertly design and deliver a new two-way radio system with a digital repeater and digital hand-held radios which allowed each school to have independent, on-site communications as well as an emergency override that would broadcast to all schools. This new system instantly provided the one-to-many emergency communication that the district required.
This district now has a cost-effective digital radio setup which covers their day-to-day and their emergency needs, and best of all Discount Two-Way Radio was able to help them stay under budget.
Another example of a school district that worked around budget issues to dramatically improve it’s communication system was Avord School District in San Bernardino, CA. Discount Two-Way Radio was able to work closely with the school’s Director of Risk & Emergency Management to build a state-of-the-art communications system for district that has 14 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, and two continuation schools. The school also employs more than 2,000 teachers and staff and is responsible for educating more than 18,000 students.
“The improvement with the new two-way radios was immediate, and the quality is exceptional. Now we have radios throughout every school and district office. Discount Two-Way Radio always has the right stuff in stock, and we get it the next day. Everybody has been awesome and very knowledgeable, and the demo program was great. It really made a big difference for our school district,” said Bob.
Far Too Common an Occurrence
On far too regular a basis, something heart-breaking will occur at a school like Newtown or Columbine. And for the next few weeks following the disaster, school boards across the nation push their school staff to get proposals for emergency equipment upgrades.
So, the principals or other staff meet with vendors and gather proposals for making their schools safer.
But then the buzz dies down a bit, the urgency fades. And when the proposals are reviewed (if they are reviewed at all) then the staff are told “it doesn't fit into the budget, right now.”
We hope that all schools nationwide have the proper safeguards in place to handle any emergency or crisis. But if you have doubts or are not sure your current budget will allow for new safety communications equipment, just give Discount Two-Way Radio a call at 866-986-2321 and we will help you create a safer, more secure campus today. No budget is too small when it comes to the safety of every student!
About Discount Two-Way Radio
Discount Two-Way Radio provides professional grade two-way radio equipment to the industries of construction, manufacturing, education, facilities management, janitorial, and warehousing to mention just a few. Ben Burns founded the company in 1997 and quickly built Discount Two-Way Radio into one of the nation’s largest full-service distributors of two-way radio equipment. Today, Discount Two-Way Radio has more than 120,000 loyal customers, and was chosen to be North America’s master distributor for all RCA two-way radio equipment.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently issued guidelines on how schools can safety reopen.
- President Joe Biden's FY2021 Budget Reconciliation Bill will add $130 billion to help school reopen safely.
- Very little of that Bill will be earmarked for two-way radio and other safety equipment.
- Discount Two-Way Radio created a Free download guide on how to help schools find government and private grant money for safety equipment.
- A quick overview of how school budgets are allocated.