Columbia County school officials mingled with area business leaders during the seventh annual Superintendent's Breakfast on Tuesday to thank them for their support.
The breakfast was held at Grovetown High School, and after awarding plaques to school business partners, officials provided a tour of the new campus.
"We believe it's our responsibility to help educate our future workforce," said Doctors Hospital Community Relations Manager Anne Cordeiro, of why business partnerships are necessary.
During tough economics times, business contributions become necessary and appreciated, said Superintendent Charles Nagle after he outlined some of the recent financial woes endured by the school system due to state budget cuts.
During the past year, the school system has lost $9 million in funding while state lawmakers try to make up a $900 million budget deficit.
"I'm giving you a bleak picture here because it is bleak," Nagle said.
Nagle added that the school system's finances could be much worse were it not for the business community.
"We couldn't do some of the things we do without your support," he said.
Last school year, the school system received $134,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from 81 businesses. That's an increase of $94,500 and 42 business partners since the first Superintendent's Breakfast in 2002.
Since 2002, business partners have contributed $219,000 in cash donations and $315,000 in in-kind contributions.
The money helps fund employee recognition events such as the Teacher of the Year Banquet, the New Teacher Orientation, the Transportation Employee Reception, and the Retirement Reception.
The system's largest contributors are the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Dell Marketing, Domino's Pizza, Georgia Bank and Trust, John Deere Commercial Products, Mercedes-Benz of Augusta, Rhinehart's Oyster Bar and University Health Care System.
University Health Care System also was recognized with the first Preston Blanchard Outstanding Partner in Education award.
The new award will be given annually to a system-wide business partner who contributes to programs designed to motivate students, appreciate educators and spur community involvement.
University Health Care System is a primary sponsor of the annual Back to School Festival and has contributed $4,000 or more to the school system each year since at least 2002.
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