Greetings Butterfield-Odin Residents,


On the ballot this year is an important matter for all Butterfield-Odin residents. The School Board is asking the voters for your support on a two-part referendum. Let me explain them…


First, a bit of our overall situation and why we are doing this. The B-O School District is in financial difficulties due to several factors, one being a decreased number of students attending our school over the last several years. We receive more State dollars if we have more students.  We simply do not have enough money coming in from the State, nor from our local taxes, to do all that is needed to provide a high quality education for our students. This didn’t just happen overnight. We’ve gone from a high enrollment 6 years ago of 246 students to our present 210. We’ve also made cuts in our spending. Our recent budget was approved with well over $250,000 in cuts and savings and yet the approved budget still has a $285,000 deficit. We cannot do that again because we no longer have the money in our Fund Reserve (our Savings Account) to use. We cannot balance our budget again without the income from our two-part levy. Let me explain what the levies are for:


The first is referred to as an Operating Levy. We can spend that money wherever it is needed to help with our expenses. The second question is for Capital Outlay, which would be used to sustain teaching and learning, and all components related. We plan to update our oldest textbooks, other curriculum, Smartboards, replacing old Computers, Chromebooks, iPads, telecommunications equipment and other technology, and rotate school vehicles. We simply would not have the money to meet these needs without passage of both requests. Both levies are for a ten-year period.


Our families should know we are doing quite a bit to strengthen and improve our school. You can expect from us already this year: new course options for our students such as 3-D Printing, Spanish, Shop, Welding, Humanities, Music Composition, Visual Arts and more. We are updating our Career and Tech Ed curriculum, equipment and facilities. We have more support for our English Language Learners than ever before. From PreK-12, we are working very hard to assist our students in improving their literacy and math skills as we prepare them for work or college. We are very excited about these positive improvements to our school.


As we improve our School in so many ways, it is my expectation that we will also see more students come to our fine School and stay. If that occurs, we will also be able to reduce the taxes that would be approved. That is my goal, if possible. I truly believe we are on a path to success! However, right now, the District is truly at a crossroads. It can be argued that if we do not receive these additional dollars, the District will go into SOD (Statutory Operating Debt). This is a hurdle we must jump over to continue our momentum of progress we have all worked so hard to accomplish.


However you choose to vote, remember that our levy questions are at the very end (bottom) of the ballot, so you might want to start at the end of the ballot first and work your way up to the political portion. And, with all that is going on this year, make sure you get your ballot mailed back in ASAP – it matters! If you want to see what your tax increase will be for you if both levies pass, click on the following link: 

Enter your Property ID (only the numbers) and there you go. 


My best wishes!


Steve Thomas, Superintendent

Register To Vote: All residents who are registered to vote by October 13 will be sent a Mail-In Ballot to fill out at home and send back in. If you have not yet registered to vote by now, you can still do so, but not until election day, November 3. You will want to go down to the Watonwan County Courthouse in St.James where you will be able to both register and vote at the same time.

Again, if you are a property owner, to calculate your tax increase if Question 1 and Question 2 pass, copy and paste this TAX IMPACT CALCULATOR:   You just enter your Property ID from a tax statement. Put in only the numbers, no letters.