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How a school district was able to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs by upgrading their phone system

The Long County School System in Long County, Georgia, was looking to find a single solution that would alleviate the challenges associated with its disparate communications systems.

“We were looking for the most cost-effective, reliable and efficient solution that would meet the needs of our school system,” said Amanda Sikes, Technology Coordinator at Long County School System. “It was important to us to find one solution that would accomplish this, and upgrading the system was the easiest way to achieve it. We knew that this change would not only promote productivity within the district, but also safety, allowing employees and faculty to communicate quickly and easily.”


The Long County School System was looking to improve communication among employees, staff and parents, and it knew that it needed to update its phone systems to achieve this goal. Long County was using two different phone systems across the school district, which were outdated and needed to be replaced to enhance productivity. Ultimately, the need for newer, more efficient technology motivated Long County School System to make a much-needed change.


Long County evaluated a few vendors and ultimately chose Panasonic as the most cost-effective and reliable choice for the district. The team at Long County worked closely with Ratel Communications, an authorized Panasonic reseller, to identify the appropriate solutions for their needs. Ratel worked quickly to install two KX-NSX2000 IP-based business communication servers, one KX-NS700 system, and 135 self-labeling NT553 IP phones. Ratel knew that these systems would work best in the school district, an environment that offered unique deployment challenges, and would meet the demands and expectations of Long County. The team worked quickly to deploy the technology throughout four schools, two Board of Education buildings and the bus barn, collectively serving 100-125 employees.


After migrating to the new, unified communications system, Long County School System was able to save over $2000 per month on its telecommunications service bills. The new system enabled Long County to take advantage of new features, such as free in-network calls, thereby streamlining the communication process altogether. Additionally, Panasonic’s generous non-profit program provided the district with a 7-year extended hardware warranty, allowing them to save even more money on operating costs. With its new communications solution in place, administrators and other employees were able to be more productive on the job and focus on their number one objective: helping students learn.

After communicating these needs to Ratel Communications, Long County School System ultimately chose Panasonic as its communications solutions partner after learning more about the company’s non-profit program, which offers a free extended warranty and discounted pricing for public-sector organizations and non-profits.

“We worked with the school district to understand the current systems in use and what its needs would be moving forward,” said Joel Bartlett, President, Ratel Communications. “We knew that the schools needed a streamlined installation process to ensure consistent communication as well as systems that offered accessible features to key end users.”

Panasonic has a complete and integrated line of unified communications solutions that have innovative features able to uniquely benefit school districts. Additionally, the extended warranty that Panasonic offers to customers within the education space is unmatched, and Long County School System found that to be an attractive benefit during the decision-making process.
Spencer Bartlett, Vice President, Ratel Communications

After selecting Panasonic, Ratel worked to install 135 NT553 IP phones in each classroom and office, as well as two NSX2000s and one NS700, which deliver flexible and high-quality communications within these environments.

“We installed the IP phones that would offer the highest quality communications within a school environment,” said Jammy Hires, Service Manager, Ratel Communications.

When combining these systems to serve as a solution for the school district, employees found that they were able to leverage extension-to-extension dialing, streamlining communication and making all parties much more productive. Since switching to Panasonic, the Long County School System saw an increase in productivity and collaboration that made for a much more efficient working environment.

Notably, Ratel found that by migrating Long County School System to the new service, they were able to save district approximately $2000 a month in telecommunication service bills. This, combined with the 7-year extended hardware warranty, helped the school district justify the cost of upgrading to a new communications system. The Long County School System now enjoys higher efficiency at a reduced cost – a win-win for employees and administrators alike. 

I’m so happy with our choice to select Panasonic to meet our unified communication needs. The technology simplified the user experience for anyone who would need to use the phones during the school day. Working with Ratel has also been extremely positive – they answer promptly in the event of troubleshooting and care about our needs. Overall, we’re very happy with our choice.
Amanda Sikes, Technology Coordinator at Long County School System