The foundation is separate from the city’s school system and receives no money from the school system. Its executive director is retiring at the end of the month, and the group is looking to more than double the position’s salary to attract competitive applicants.
Executive Director Neil Barfield makes $19,200 annually and receives no benefits, said Maddox Kilgore, president of the foundation.
The foundation plans to ask the school board for $60,000 to be paid over three years to help increase the salary. The school board meets at 7 p.m. today at Marietta City Schools Central Office, 250 Howard St.
Kilgore said the group is starting with a $45,000 annual salary in mind, but that’s not set in stone.
“We absolutely do not have a salary listed,” Kilgore said. “We have not posted for the position.”
Barfield puts in more than 40 hours each week and his assistant is paid a salary of about $14,000.
“You have to understand Neil Barfield: The Marietta Schools Foundation is kind of his baby,” Kilgore said. “He wasn’t hired on as a professional fundraiser or professional fund manager. He runs it and has ran it for several decades because of his love for Marietta High School … the educators and the teachers.”
Barfield is a retired bank president and did not return phone calls Monday afternoon.
It’s unlikely the foundation will find someone with the expertise to replace Barfield at the current salary, Kilgore said, calling him “one in a million.”
“We’ve thought for a long time that we’re getting a heck of a bargain,” Kilgore said.
An interim executive director will be paid a stipend of $2,000 a month for six months until a new full-time director can be hired.
The foundation is governed by a 24-member board of directors and has distributed more than $2.5 million since its inception 30 years ago. Endowments and donations are put into low-risk investments, Kilgore said, and those earnings are used to fund scholarships and other educational needs.
Though the school board gave the foundation about $10,000 to get started in 1983, it receives no funding from the school system other than printing services.
Marietta School Board Chairman Randy Weiner supports giving the cash to the foundation.
“He’s been working for very little,” Weiner said of Barfield.
The foundation does important work, Weiner said, distributing scholarships and helping with other financial needs in schools.
Most recently, the foundation gave $500 to West Side Elementary School to fund a field trip.