Sportsmanship and Bullying


Last night, I took in a high school football game. My neighborhood school, the Granger Lancers, was playing against my alma-mater, the Olympus Titans. The disparity was eye-opening.

By my count, Granger only had 33 players in uniform last night. That's not even enough to field a complete two-deep roster. They also had several Freshman dress. While they were able to drive the ball down the field several times, their lack of a kicking game resulted in several turnovers on downs near the end zone.

It was a different story on the other sideline. Despite having half the student population, Olympus dressed over 70 players. Having a large pool of players allowed Olympus to play their best players (instead of being forced to play their only players), and substitute players on every play (something Granger rarely did).

However this disparity is not what this post is about. Nor is this post about the many reasons that schools like granger struggle to field a team.  This post is about some of the cheers from the Olympus student section.  In the second quarter, on their fourth drive and down 21-0, Granger was unable to cross the 50-yard line for the first time and was forced to attempt a punt.  The snap was bobbled, and the punter tried to run for the 1st down and was tackled short.  the Olympus student section responded with a chant of "It's too easy," a chant they would repeat sever times later in the game.  After Olympus scored to go up 28-0, the chant was "it's all over."  These chants were meant to belittle the other team -- a team that was obviously undersized and disadvantaged.

Outside the sports world, that kind of activity is considered bullying. I have no problem with cheering on the other team, but I do have a problem with belittling your opponent, especially in high school athletics.  High school athletics should be a place where effort is rewarded and not belittled.  If elected, I will work to make sure that district policy states that anti-bullying policies extend to the athletic field and stands as much it exists in the classrooms and hallways. And, if a student body chooses to bully the opposing team, it is up to the school administration to evict those students from the game.

Kindergarten Placement Uncertainty Makes Childcare Difficult

This week, incoming Kindergarten students in Granite School District will be headed to their new schools for testing. This testing will be used to place students based on their current knowledge, to help them with their first, and one of the most important, year of schooling. Parents will find out the identity of their child's teacher and whether their kid is going to school in the morning or afternoon on Friday, August 10.  Kindergarteners start school on August 23.

Over the course of campaigning, I've spoken to a few parents of Kindergarteners who are concerned about this timeline.  As is the case with many families today, especially in Precinct 5, these parents need to fine childcare for the hours their Kindergartener is not at school.  With such short notice, these parents are have to make multiple arrangements knowing they will have to cancel one set of plans.  This also makes it difficult for professional child-care providers, as they don't know what their case load will be in a couple short weeks.  In at least one case, the parent won't have to worry about childcare if they get afternoon Kindergarten, but their school won't let them make a request for afternoon classes. If they get morning a class, they need to the go out and find childcare, since both parents will be at work in the afternoon. 

This is a problem that needs to be looked at. These parents feel like they are getting a deaf ear trying to communicate their concerns to their schools and to the district.  If elected, I will not only listen to these concerns, I will work toward finding that work best for parents and teachers, while also doing what's best for student's education.

Online Registration? It's about time.

Recently, I had a voter approach me with an issue.  Her child is entering the 6th grade in one of our Granite District schools, the same school he has attended since Kindergarten. The only option is for a parent to show up in person to register him.

Like most families in Granite School District, especially in Precinct 5, this mother has a full-time job.  Fortunately, she has a job that will allow her to take a half-day of PTO to register her son. Many parents don't really have that luxury, so they have to scramble to either trade shifts or sacrifice a day of pay just to register their children.  When you live paycheck-to-paycheck, losing a day of pay is an impossible challenge.

In 2018, this quandary is unfathomable. There should be an option to register your student online, at a time that is convenient to you and your work schedule. Especially if your student is returning to the same school he has attended for years.

The parents of Granite School District deserve better. The citizens of West Valley City deserve a representative that will work for modern solutions to our problems. If elected to the school board, I will have open communication with my constituents, and make efforts to find solutions to make education open and accessible for everyone.

When your ballot arrives in the mail this fall, vote Bob Aagard for Granite School Board.


Campaign Finance

All candidates in Salt Lake County had to file the first campaign finance disclosure for 2018. Click here to view my disclosure. I am a strong advocate for the public knowing the source every dollar that a candidate receives and spends for his or her campaign.

I would link to my opponent's disclosure, but he doesn't have one.  He filed a Small Budget Campaign Certificate.  Candidates can file such a certificate if they intend on spending less than $2,000 over the course of the campaign. It means that they don't have to file any other disclosures until 7 days before election day.  That's TWO WEEKS AFTER voters will get their ballots in the mail.

That's right -- voters will be casting their ballots without being able to see who donated to donated to one of the candidates.

What's interesting is that in the previous two election cycles Terry H Bawden, who was unopposed in both elections, filed each and every disclosure, even though this small balance option was available.  That's right, even though he didn't spend a penny outside of the $50 filing fee, he still filed each and every disclosure.

But now? Nothing.

What is Terry Bawden hiding? Or, is he enough of a technophobe that he can't file a simple disclosure form?

I'm on the ballot!

On March 9, the first day candidates could officially file to run for office, I headed down to the County Clerk's Office and filed my paperwork to put my name on the ballot this November.  It's going to take a lot of work, and I'll need a lot of help.  I look forward to getting to know my neighbors here in West Valley City.  Please consider signing up to volunteer to host a house party or make phone calls on my behalf.  In addition, if you are able to, please consider a financial donation to my campaign. With 16,000 potential voters, a race this size could cost upwards of $20,000.  I know that this campaign can be won for about half that much, but it will take lots of help from many people.  Even $5 can help me contact several voters.

Here we go!

This campaign is ready to go!  The website is live, donations are coming in, volunteers are signing up, and things are beginning to get real.

The incumbent school board member has run unopposed the past 2 campaign cycles.  He has lost touch of the fact that he is on the school board to represent the people of his district -- the parents, students, and voters who live here, and the teachers and other school personnel who work here. As such, we have lost our voice.

I am running to be that voice.  I hope you will join me on this journey.