Superintendent spends $10K bonus on college-bound seniors

Credit: Marietta City Schools

Credit: Marietta City Schools

Marietta High School seniors facing the overwhelming task of applying to college may get a little relief, courtesy of the city schools superintendent's bonus check.

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Marietta School District Superintendent Grant Rivera said Tuesday that he will donate his first-ever $10,000 bonus to pay for college application fees for every student who applies to college ahead of regular application deadlines. Rivera said the donation will go to the Marietta Schools Foundation, which will distribute the money to students.

Rivera has been Marietta’s superintendent since November 2016 and has a base salary of $190,136. He is entitled to bonuses every three years after receiving an overall satisfactory performance review by the school board. The superintendent told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the bonus he received wasn’t earned by his work alone, but with the help of the system’s employees.

“I don’t believe that a bonus provided by the board should be earned on the backs of the teachers,” he said.

Rivera said his decision will help reduce application fees students must pay to submit their paperwork to colleges and universities.

Kelly Herrero, the high school’s IB Middle Years Program coordinator, said the average application fee at public colleges typically falls between $70 and $90.

Herrero's son, Brock, is a senior at Marietta High School who will use the superintendent's donation to apply to the University of North Carolina. Brock hopes to become a lawyer, she said.

Out of a graduating senior class of about 500, Rivera said he expects 150 to 200 students to apply to college, but that number could go higher.

Rivera said any leftover money will be used to fund bus trips to take students on college tours around Georgia.

The superintendent said he hopes his actions will convince students that applying early to college will give them a better chance of getting accepted into college and taking advantage of any financial aid packages.

“My hope is that it’s an incentive for kids to do the right thing,” he added.

Herrero also said applying early will give students breathing room to apply for scholarships and to enjoy their senior year.

She said Rivera’s commitment shows where his priorities are in his leadership of the school system.

“Any opportunity for these kids to have someone invest in them in this way goes to the theme to what Marietta, I think, is all about,” she said.

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