OLIVIA — Voters in the BOLD School District approved a $635-per-pupil operating levy by vote of 717 in favor and 658 against in Tuesday's referendum, according to unofficial results.

"A good vote for the kids," said Superintendent Dale Brandsoy in announcing the unofficial vote tally.

The district faced the prospect of $600,000 in cuts in the next budget if the increased operating levy was not approved.

The district has been deficit spending in the last three years. Its general fund reserve declined from $3.8 million to $1.9 million in the current budget.

The district still faces a nearly $200,000 gap in the coming budget. However, the superintendent told some 70 people attending an informational meeting on the levy one week ago that approval of the increased operating levy would help the district take the steps needed to right its budget over time.

BOLD School Board members are also looking at major facilities needs in the district that serves the communities of Bird Island, Lake Lillian and Olivia. They had considered but withdrew a proposal that would have asked voters to approve a bond issue for constructing a new central campus.