Schools Can Use ESSER Funds Toward Radio Upgrades

A school teacher standing by a brick wall outside holds an RCA two-way that is eligible for purchase with ESSER funds.

Are you aware that school districts can use funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program to upgrade their two-way radio networks? Any radio dealers that market to schools would find it worthwhile to learn whether those in their areas are also aware of these funds, and whether they’ve already applied them. Here’s a quick recap on what ESSER is, how much time schools have to take advantage of the program, as well as RCA options that qualify for purchasing.

ESSER Timeline: Availability and Obligation Dates

The ESSER program became available thanks to the CARES Act of 2020, and its first round of funds must be obligated this year by September 30. In other words, they don’t have to be spent, but they do need to be part of an established purchase order so that it’s clear what they’ll be applied to.

ESSER’s secondary installments, referred to as ESSER II and ARP ESSER, have similar obligation dates set a year apart: September 30, 2023 for ESSER II, and September 30, 2024 for ARP ESSER.

These funds are intended to help schools cover the costs of upgrading on-site facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizing supplies to improved air ventilation. Because two-way radios offer a strong communications network to oversee these upgrades and offer immediate emergency response, they’re eligible.

RCA’s Commitment to Schools

RCA Communications Systems has been a proud supporter of schools across the U.S. for years. We remain committed to their safety, security, and operations by offering the following products and services.

World-Class Two-Way Radios

Whether you’re talking handhelds, mobiles, base stations, intercoms, or repeaters, the RCA brand of two-way radios can compete with any other on the market when it comes to word-class quality. This means the best durability, coverage, emergency features, and performance available. Plus, these units are compatible with any brand, which allows customers to incrementally integrate them into their current networks in ways that align with their budgets. Customers love them because they can get the same quality (or better) at a price point that’s typically 30 percent under the competition.

Upgrading From Analog to Digital

It goes without saying that digital radios offer better performance and extended battery life. But the transition from a legacy analog system to DMR isn’t always immediate, based on the needs and budgets of a school system. That’s why RCA offers units that include mixed mode, allowing them to switch back and forth between analog and digital. Similar to RCA’s ability to work with other brands, this analog/digital compatibility allows schools to transition their communications networks on their terms, while still keeping them up and running effectively.

Long-Lasting Batteries and Replacements

RCA radios are designed with batteries that meet the needs of a full shift and beyond. They can last upwards of eight (8) hours or longer when charged correctly and replaced every 18 months. Plus, many of our radios now offer a high-capability upgrade that boosts battery performance more than 20 percent. And where many of our competitors have felt the effects of supply chain disruptions, we’re proud to say that we still have plenty of inventory — batteries and radios alike — that is currently available and able to ship the same day you order it.

Become an RCA Reseller

If you aren’t already an official RCA reseller, we hope the reasons above will encourage you to become one. The process takes a matter of minutes, and will allow you access to immediate inventory to grow your sales. Many of the customers that need you now could be schools that are ready to utilize ESSER funds to upgrade their radios and equipment.

If you have questions about any of this material, or are looking to place your next order, we want to hear from you! Give us a call today at 855-657-0090.