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Pandemic crimps Mars school budget

District expects $650K tax shortfall

May 27, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

The Mars Area School Board, while considering a $52.35 million budget for the 2020-21 school year, learned about potential financial shortfalls brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the Mars Area School Board worked to approve a tentative 2020-21 budget, members learned of financial hits possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is a common misconception that school districts saved money due to the pandemic,” said Jill Swaney, district business manager. “Unfortunately, any savings were off-set by mandated and unexpected expenditures.”

During a virtual meeting Tuesday night on the $52.35 million proposed budget, Swaney updated members on the status of the district’s 2019-20 budget and its potential to end on a somewhat grim financial note. She reminded the board Pennsylvania districts are required by “COVID legislation” to fully pay district workers who were employed as of March 13.

“We have had different groups of employees unable — through no fault of their own — to ... perform their jobs,” Swaney said. “But they have remained on the payroll at 100 percent due to this legislation.”

This is an excerpt from a larger article that appeared in Thursday’s Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.