TROY — Late Sunday evening, Van Cleve Sixth Grade students left for Washington, D.C. — a trip that almost didn’t happen this year.
Earlier this month, the district was informed the annual trek to the nation’s Capitol was in jeopardy as the school’s charter company, Discovery Tours Inc., never paid for hotel room deposits. The company shut its doors and left thousands of Ohio students in limbo — along with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of student trips unaccounted for.
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, which left Sunday evening.
So far, the district has collected $86,000 to help reimburse WorldStrides, with the Troy Foundation donating $75,000 to offset their generous donation.
Superintendent Eric Herman said the district will stop accepting donations for the 2018 D.C. trip on Monday.
Herman said the school will set up a D.C. trip scholarship fund for future use to help students to be able to go on the trip. Those who wish to contribute to future D.C. trips for students can do so through the Troy Foundation.
“Due to the overwhelming generosity of WorldStrides and of many outside donors, we will stop accepting donations for the current D.C. trip at the end of the day on Monday, May 21,” Herman said. “Words cannot describe the incredible support of not only the Troy community, but many others outside of Troy, both individuals and business owners. The outreach of support has been unbelievable. Troy City Schools are very humbled and grateful for all of the kindness shown.”
Discovery Tours Inc. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on May 7. On May 11, Attorney Mike DeWine filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the company. According to reports, 5,600 people are owed money from trips that were cancelled. The cost of the Van Cleve trip was $860 per person. Parents made payments directly to the company.
The district has made contact with the trustee responsible for Discovery Tours’ bankruptcy case. According to the letter to be sent out to parents on Monday, several thousand parents were named as creditors in the bankruptcy notice. The trustee told the district letters have been sent to all parents who were named creditors. If those parents do not receive a letter by the last week of May, the company did not name them as a creditor and they should consider filing a claim with the Northern District of Ohio court. The case is assigned to Judge Jessica Price Smith. For more information, visit www.ohnb.uscourts.gov.