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Mars Area School District

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2022-2023 Budget Information

On May 10, Mars Area School Board voted unanimously in favor of Mars Area School District’s tentative 2022-2023 General Fund Budget of $56,683,376 with no tax increase.

 

To view the proposed 2022-2023 Mars Area School District General Fund Budget, click on the the following:


Tentative Budget Overview
 
For an overview of the proposed Mars Area School District 2022-202 General Fund Budget click on the following:


Tentative Budget Summary

Mars Area Board of School Directors approved a proposed final 2022-2023 Mars Area School District General Fund Budget of $56,683,376 with no millage increase. This proposal is 2.9% or $1.6 million higher than the current budget of $55,073,050 and requires the use of $1,043,116 of fund balance to balance the budget. It is not uncommon for the District to use fund balance to balance the budget because historically a deficit is rarely realized and typically the District ends each year with revenues exceeding expenses. The budgeted deficit is 1.8% of budgeted expenditures. In order to produce a balanced budget without using the fund balance, the District would have to eliminate or reduce programs and staffing. This is not recommended, as, historically, the District generates more revenue and incurs fewer expenses than budgeted.

The proposed 2022-2023 Mars Area School District General Fund Budget is posted on the District’s website, www.marsk12.org. The Board is scheduled to adopt the final budget at its Regular Meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14. All Board meetings are open to the public.

District revenue from local, state and federal sources ($55,640,260) is anticipated to net a $2.4 million increase, with the bulk of that increase ($2.1M) attributed to continued growth in the District (local revenue). Current & interim real estate taxes, earned income taxes and realty transfer taxes account for $38.1 million of the budgeted revenues and 97% of the increase in local revenue. The allocation of the tentative 2022-2023 budget is local revenues of $40.1 million (72%), state revenues of $14.9 million (27%) and federal revenues of $631,000 (1%).

The District’s proposed 2022-2023 budget preserves the integrity of its educational programs, while remaining sensitive to the increased financial strain on taxpayers. The Board and Administration strived to find balance between academic priorities and cost-saving efforts, with the goal of keeping the dollars closest to the students. The budget was prepared with input from many stakeholders using a zero-based budgeting approach. There are a number of categories that comprise the $56,683,376 budget with just five (5) categories accounting for 89% of the budget. These include salaries of $23.3 million, employee benefits of $14.3 million, debt service of $6.2 million, student transportation services of $3.2 million, and tuition of $3.2 million.

During the 2021-2022 School Year, the District welcomed back approximately 33 students from cyber charter schools for “in-person” learning in to District classrooms. This allowed for a budget decrease of $441,000 in charter school tuition for the 2022-2023 School Year. However, cyber charter enrollment remains budgeted at significantly higher levels than pre-pandemic years, making up 3.2% of the budget at $1,809,000. For comparison purposes, if the District were to return to pre-pandemic cyber charter enrollment numbers, it could reduce the budget by approximately $844,500. The 2022-2023 School Year will be a final year to monitor this enrollment; and, if our students opt to continue their education outside of the District, the Board may need to consider a future millage increase to ensure sustainable funding of this expenditure line item.

This proposed budget continues to move the District forward in a fiscally responsible way, while addressing important needs that face our schools as we move into the 2022-2023 School Year. These needs include:

  • Continuation of existing educational programs;
  • Retention of all teaching and support staff, including unfilled support positions;
  • Replacement of all retiring teachers and administrators;
  • Adding a Grade 4 Teacher at Mars Area Elementary School;
  • Adding a Grade 5 Teacher at Mars Area Centennial School;
  • Adding a Grade 6 Teacher at Mars Area Centennial School;
  • Adding a Special Education K-6 Teacher at Mars Area Primary Center;
  • Adding a School Counselor at Mars Area Elementary School;
  • Adding an English Teacher at Mars Area High School;
  • Adding a Technology Education Teacher at Mars Area High School;
  • Adding an IT Senior Network Engineer;
  • Adding an IT Level II-A Technician;
  • Appointing a permanent Assistant Principal to Mars Area High School;
  • Increasing a Part-Time High School Counselor to Full-Time;
  • Purchasing new English/Language Arts curriculum for Grades 2-12;
  • Purchasing new Science curriculum for Grades 6-12;
  • Funding a 2% increase in health insurance premiums;
  • Funding a 7% increase in net contributions to PA School Employees Retirement System;
  • Funding of District Technology Plan including:
    • 600 Chromebooks ~ One-to-One devices for Grade 5 and Grade 9 students
    • 250 iPads & carts ~ One-to-One devices for Mars Area Elementary School – Phase I
    • 30 Desktop Computers ~ Tech Ed Department for Graphic Intensive Applications
    • 60 Staff Laptops/Desktops ~ Year 3 of staff replacement of aging equipment
  • Consolidation of Non-Public Bus Routes – Savings of four (4) CDL drivers to fill other routes;
  • Reducing Cyber Charter Tuition by $441K for returning students;
 
Parents and community members may submit questions or comments regarding the proposed budget to Mars Area School Board via e-mail at [email protected] or at any public Board meetings. Thank you for your continued support now and into the future.


Questions/Comments

Questions or comments regarding the budget and/or District finances may be submitted to Mars Area School Board via e-mail at [email protected]; the District's online form (https://www.marsk12.org/apps/form/form.MARSSD.qox76fY.iB) or at any public Board meeting.



Archives
 

The Mars Area School District Business Office oversees the District's finances, investment and budgeting. For more information regarding Mars Area School District's current and upcoming General Fund Budget, click on the following links:
The budget consists of salaries and benefits as well as instructional, maintenance, transportation, debt service and operational costs. The District's fiscal year is from July 1 through June 30. A copy of the budget is available via the link above or upon request at the District Administration Office (545 Route 228; Mars, Pa. 16046).