The Marietta Schools Foundation asked for $60,000 to be paid over three years by the Marietta School Board in order for the nonprofit to increase the salary for its next executive director.
Exe-cutive Director Neil Barfield is retiring at the end of the month, and the foundation wants to double the position’s salary to attract competitive applicants, according to Maddox Kilgore, the president of the foundation.
Barfield, a graduate of Marietta High School, was making $19,200 annually and received no benefits. Barfield is leaving the foundation to focus on securing endowments for Marietta Performing Arts Center’s new auditorium.
Although the Marietta school board gave the Marietta Schools Foundation $10,000 in 1983 to get started, the nonprofit is separate from the city’s school system and receives no regular allotment from the board’s budget.
On Tuesday, the school board voted 6-1 in favor of the financial support, with Brett Bittner opposed.
Bittner, who recently won re-election to the school board, said his vote is in line with past stances against funding groups who do not have a direct program in a Marietta city school.
Part of the $60,000 funding by the Marietta Board of Education might come from forgiving $16,000 the nonprofit owes the city for covering the cost of donor plaques added to the Marietta Performing Arts Center, Superintendent Emily Lembeck said.
The Marietta Schools Foundation is governed by a 24-member board of directors and has distributed more than $2.5 million in charitable giving since its inception 30 years ago.
Endowments and donations from alumni and corporations are put into low-risk investments, Kilgore said, and those earnings are used to fund scholarships and other financial assistance to programs. Most recently, the foundation gave $500 to West Side Elementary School to fund a field trip.
“The school system is going to get this back tenfold,” Kilgore told the board after the vote.