Troy Foundation gifts $75,000 for D.C. trip

AG files lawsuit against Discovery Tours; $86k raised to reimburse new charter

By Melanie Yingst -

TROY — In less than a week after learning the Van Cleve Sixth Grade’s annual trip to Washington, D.C. was nearly called off, the local community has rallied to help pay back funds to the charter company who stepped in and helped save the trip.

The Troy Foundation has donated $75,000 to Troy City Schools to help reimburse the Virginia-based WorldStrides company. An additional $11,000 has also been collected. The district was able to obtain a trip at no cost through WorldStrides tour company. Approximately 192 students and 58 chaperones are scheduled for the trip.

Superintendent Eric Herman said, “Troy is a great place to live and work. The community has been fantastic in coming together for us.”

Students are scheduled to leave May 20 and will return May 24.

Last Friday, Troy City Schools received an official notice cancelling the Van Cleve Sixth Grade student trip from the tour company it had contracted with, Discovery Tours, for the 2018 trip. Discovery Tours has since declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to news reports. Senator Sherrod Brown has since called for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Attorney General’s office to investigate Discovery Tours. On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has also filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the company.

The company’s only request was when and if monies are reimbursed to the families, the funds will be submitted to their company.

Earlier this week, Steve Borenstein, of WorldStrides, told Troy Daily News they learned about the school’s situation and decided to help.

In a press release, Herman stated, “The hope of WorldStrides is that monies collected through and refunds could be collected and forwarded to WorldStrides to offset their financial exposure. Troy Board of Education will receive all funds and then transfer to WorldStrides. When speaking with Steve Borenstein, SVP Sales, from WorldStrides, he asked for us to give it our best effort. I assured him we would give them our best effort and do the best we could in raising monies.”

The school district is accepting donations at the board office for the trip. Donations can be dropped off or sent to Troy Board of Education, 500 N. Market St., Troy, OH 45373. Make checks payable to Troy City Schools and write “DC Trip 2018” in the memo.

Last week, the school district was notified their trip was cancelled by an email sent by Alfred Cipoletti, president of Discovery Tours, which said, “We regret to inform you that Discovery Tours Inc. has suspended its operations, effective immediately. All future trips are cancelled. Further information will be provided when available.”

The Van Cleve Sixth Grade trip was originally scheduled for May 20-26 at a cost of $860 per student.

Parents made direct payments to the Discovery Tour company, not to the district, for the trip.

The district has used the company in the past five years. The school did not collect the funds directly and parents made payments for the trip online directly to the Discovery Tour company. The payments were broken up into three payments, with the amount due in full by March 16. The company also collected money raised by the school’s various fundraisers for the students.

AG files lawsuit against Discovery Tours; $86k raised to reimburse new charter

By Melanie Yingst