Columbia County school officials honored their business partners Friday with food and song.
The Brandon Wilde retirement community held the Superintendent's Breakfast for Business Partners - an annual event that recognizes the monetary and in-kind contributions of the business community to county schools.
About 50 area business leaders attended the breakfast at Brandon Wilde's clubhouse.
"Our partnerships with the business community are larger than they've ever been," Superintendent Tommy Price said to the breakfast guests after a concert by a chorus of Evans High School students.
"Last year, we raised around $60,000," wrote school special-events coordinator Karen Ribble in an e-mail. "This year, we have received $28,850 (in) cash and over $47,000 (in) in-kind contributions."
The in-kind contributions total did not include the value of a one-year lease for a 2006 Jaguar from Hank Aaron Land Rover Augusta, which the system received as a prize for this year's teacher of the year, Ribble wrote.
From 2005 through 2009, the school system will have spent about $100 million in capital improvements to meet the demands of student population growth, Price said.
Despite the difficulties that come with running a rapidly growing school system, Price said it's a good problem to have.
"I'd rather have this kind of scenario than be losing students and going the other way," he said.
Business partnerships help defray the cost of teacher-recognition programs or helping students with extracurricular activities, Price said.
Price ended the event by giving away poinsettias, which were donated by horticulture students at Evans High, to breakfast guests.
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