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Mars Area School District

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2023-2024 Budget Information

On June 13, Mars Area School Board voted 5-1 in favor of the 2023-2024 Mars Area School District General Fund Budget of $58,888,444 with a tax increase of 4.15 mills.

Board member John Kennedy cast the dissenting vote. Board members Anthony Depretis, Megan Lenz and Nicole Thurner were absent.

To view the approved 2023-2024 Mars Area School District General Fund Budget, click on the the following:

Note: The Mars Area School District General Fund 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's Administration Office (545 Route 228; Mars).

Budget Overview 

The Mars Area School District Board of Directors approved the  2023-2024 General Fund Budget of $58,888,444 in expenditures with a proposed 4.15 real estate millage increase. The millage rate increases to 105.526 mills from 101.376.  This expenditure budget is 3.9% or $2.2 million higher than the current budget of $56,683,376 and requires the use of $86K of fund balance to balance the budget.

The District’s 2023-2024 General Fund Budget preserves the integrity of its educational programs and addresses needs resulting from the increased growth in the District.  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 multiple categories that comprise the $58,888,444 budget with just five of the categories accounting for 89% of the budget. These include salaries of $25 million, employee benefits of $15.3 million, debt service of $6.2 million, student transportation services of $3.3 million, and tuition of $2.5 million.

The 2023-2024 General Fund Budget continues to move the District forward in a fiscally responsible manner, while addressing important needs that face our schools during a time of continued growth. 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 support staff
  • Addition of funds for tutoring to address learning loss
  • Wage & salary increases for contractual obligations
  • Adding a Grade 2 Teacher at Mars Area Elementary School
  • Adding a Grade 4 Teacher at Mars Area Elementary School
  • Adding a Grade 5 Teacher at Mars Area Centennial School
  • Adding a Reading Specialist at Mars Area Centennial School
  • Adding a Learning Support/Emotional Support teacher at Mars Elementary School
  • Adding a Life Skills/Autistic Support teacher at Mars Area Centennial School
  • Adding a Mathematics teacher at Mars Area High School
  • Adding a School Nurse
  • Adding an IT Level I Technician to assist with expanded One-To-One technology program
  • Adding a Reading Specialist for K-6
  • Adding a School Psychologist (grant funded for year 1)
  • Adding a Behavior Analyst (grant funded for year 1)
  • Adding a School Police Officer
  • Appointing a permanent Principal to Mars Primary Center
  • Increasing a Part-Time Speech Therapist to Full-Time:
  • Purchasing new English/Language Arts curriculum for Grade 1
  • Purchasing new Science curriculum for Grades K-5
  • Purchasing new curriculum for secondary Child Development Classes
  • Purchasing new curriculum for Fundamental Accounting Course for Grades 9-12
  • Purchasing new online curriculum resources for elementary & secondary levels
  • Implementing new course offering in Science, Debate & Discussion, Cybersecurity and Video Game Design at Mars Area High School
  • Funding a 6.8% increase in health insurance premiums
  • Funding a 3.5% increase in net contributions to PA School Employees Retirement System
  • Funding a 16% increase in utility costs due to inflationary market conditions
  • Funding of District Technology Plan of $564K including:

    • 575 Chromebooks ~ One to One devices for Grade 5 and Grade 9 students
    • 720 iPads ~ One to One devices for Mars Area Elementary School – Phase 2
    • 15 Network Switches & Firewall ~ Districtwide initiative

  • Funding additional equipment needs of $165K
  • Reducing Charter School Tuition by $394K for returning students

2023-2024 general fund revenue from local, state and federal sources of $58,802,444 covers all but $86,000 of the budgeted expenditures. Consistent with historical trends, more than 70% of the District expenditures are funded with local revenue sources.  The allocation of the  2023-2024 General Fund Budget is local revenues of $42.7M (72.6%), state revenues of $15.8M (26.8%) and federal revenues of $324K (.06%).   The total revenue increase from the 2022-2023 budget is $3,162,184 or 5.68%.  Local revenue accounts for $2.6M of the increase with an addition of 4.15 mills to the millage rate comprising $1,245,078 of the $2.6M.

Continued growth in the District is the driving force behind the additional rise in real estate tax revenue of $611K and of the $208K increase in earned income tax & realty transfer tax revenue. Rounding out local revenue is a $500K increase in interest income resulting from higher interest rates available on District investment accounts. The state revenue increase of $865K is mainly attributed to more state funding for basic education. The $306K decrease in federal revenue is a result of federal pandemic related funding being primarily expended in prior years


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 at; or at any public Board meeting.