Originally created 05/04/04

Science program receives donation



As the General Assembly convened in Atlanta for a special session to determine who gets what state money, Fort Discovery officials received a donation Monday to help its mission.

The $100,000 contribution will help provide educational programs nationwide, said Joe Edwards, the CEO of Fort Discovery and the National Science Center.

The presentation came as a local state senator said a proposed budget would restore state funding that had been cut last fiscal year.

State Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, said Fort Discovery will receive more than $1.5 million under the proposed budget before officials in Atlanta.

The funding includes the $1.25 million the science center requested to allow Georgia's schoolchildren to visit Fort Discovery without charge.

Mr. Cheeks also said the money includes funding that had been cut to the center from the state.

"They will now be made whole for the next two years," Mr. Cheeks said.

The appropriation is part of the state's proposed budget, which must be passed by the Legislature during the special session called this week by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

"Personally, I've had a lot of interaction with our representatives, and I have a great confidence in the value they see in education," Mr. Edwards said.

While the federal government contributes more than $2 million in funding to the science center through its Army partnership, Mr. Edwards said those funds are used to pay the salaries of federal employees who work at the science center.

He said any shortfall or decrease in funding will have to be made up through fund-raising and donations from individuals and organizations, such as the one Lockheed Martin gave Monday.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.