Davis School District defends not sending 6th grade robotics team to World Championships

Apr 25, 2022, 6:38 PM | Updated: Apr 26, 2022, 12:40 pm

Voters in Davis School District will decide in the upcoming election on a $475 million bond that th...

Voters in Davis School District will decide in the upcoming election on a $475 million bond that the district says will not raise taxes. (Photo credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.)

(Photo credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.)

FARMINGTON, Utah — The Davis School District is defending its decision not to allow a sixth-grade robotics team to travel to the world championship competition scheduled for the middle of May.

According to a parent of a member of the sixth-grade team, the Valley View Elementary robotics team is one of several teams in the district that have qualified for the Vex World Championship in Dallas.

Sixth-grade robotics team

The elementary-age team qualified back in March by taking second place at the state championship competition. At the time, the school board policy reportedly allowed elementary school students to travel. As a result, the trip could be paid for with school funds.

The Davis School District is defending its decision to not allow a sixth-grade team to attend a robotics competition.

But in a school board meeting last Tuesday, the board voted to change the language of their policy to exclude elementary kids from their travel policy.

“They took the word “elementary school” students out of the policy the night before we needed to register,” Michael Douglas told KSL NewsRadio. “Which is pretty shady.”

The original policy before April 19 read as follows:

Extended travel requests shall be considered from junior high schools and elementary schools when the request is from a program endorsed by the district Teacher and Learning Department…the program is an extension of, and integral to the academic core, and the student representatives have won a state competition related to the program…

After that vote by the school board, the policy excluded the phrase “elementary schools.” 

At the meeting, board members even discussed this team specifically. During the meeting, the new policy was clarified that would indeed eliminate the sixth-grade team from traveling. 

“There’s no way to charge for it,” said Ben Onofrio, Davis School District’s attorney who presented the change to the board at that meeting. “It’s not on the fee schedule for elementary.” 

But Douglas alleges he paid $90 for his son to participate in the school’s Vex robotics club. It’s something he says isn’t on the district’s fee schedule.

“Let the school use trust land fund money, let them use fundraising money,” said Douglas. “This isn’t the only way the kids can go.”

District response

A spokesman for the district is defending the board’s vote.

“The policy now reflects a practice that has occurred in our district for years,” Davis District Spokesman Chris Williams told KSL NewsRadio.

When asked why the district couldn’t honor the original policy and enforce the new one going forward, Williams said, “the school board accepts policy, so they voted unanimously to change its own policy.” 

Douglas claims the school board “pulled the carpet out” from the sixth-grade team. Saying communications from the school before this policy change had them believing the students could go on the trip.

“And now they’re (the team is) in jeopardy of not being able to go as a team, teachers are having to pay their own way.”

Other allegations

Douglas also claims that one school board member worked behind the scenes to change the policy. While she advocated otherwise to parents.

“Even though we thought she was helping support her constituents and their students at Valley View…she worked behind the scenes to have the verbiage changed…the eve of this competition,” Douglas said.

KSL has chosen not to name that school board member until she can be reached for comment.

Douglas also alleges that the district administration has blocked the Davis Education Foundation, the district’s fundraising organization, from using its 501(c)(3) status to let corporations get tax-exempt status for donations to help pay for the team’s trip.

“The cherry on top of this whole thing is that we have third-party donors that are interested in sending this team. But the district is blocking access,” said Douglas.

A claim Williams says that doesn’t involve the district. 

“That’s their decision, that’s not our decision,” Williams said.

The team is now taking donations through a GoFundMe. And Douglas says corporations can get their 501(c)(3) status now through the Kaysville Robotics Association. 

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Education + Schools

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...


Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

7 hours ago

cellphone schools...

Peter Johnston

Bill that would remove competency test requirement for teachers looks ready to pass

Currently, those pursuing a teaching license in Utah are required to pass a classroom management test. However, it could disappear from Utah's teaching licensure requirements if a bill passes the Senate this week.

11 hours ago

After starting the new year with poor air quality, Utah may finally be able to take a breath and fi...

Heather Peterson

New black carbon sensor is more portable but just as accurate, study finds

A new study from the University of Utah finds that recently released black carbon new units are just as accurate in detecting black carbon, but they are more portable and affordable.

14 hours ago

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt F...

Allessandra Harris

Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

With the Bonneville Salt Flats eroding, newly discovered research may have found a way to save them.

4 days ago

utah capitol pictured, a new law centers adoption legal expenses open records utah...

Curt Gresseth

Bill creating Utah AI lab advances, would test tech, prevent missteps

SB 149 would create an AI lab and test technology while protecting the public in Utah.

5 days ago

The block U appears on the University of Utah, the school will no longer require sat or act scores...

Heather Peterson

University of Utah indefinitely pauses SAT and ACT admissions requirements

The University of Utah paused its SAT and ACT requirements two years ago, but the policy has now been extended indefinitely.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Davis School District defends not sending 6th grade robotics team to World Championships