Ad Spot

Local parents seeking answers about band trip refunds

An ongoing situation involving unpaid refunds for canceled school band trips has left many local parents frustrated and searching for answers.

When the out-of-state trips for band students at certain Shelby County schools were canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020, parents like Joe Frost assumed they would be refunded their money. But almost a year later, they are still waiting and wondering what happened to it.

“It’s a lot of money,” said Frost, whose son James was a senior in Chelsea High School’s marching band last year. “We really need answers. It really is frustrating.”

Frost said he and other parents had paid the full amount – about $800 per student – to the school prior to the trip being canceled shortly before the departure date, and the school then submitted payment to Musical Destinations, a student group tour and travel company based in Winter Garden, Florida.

“We found out Universal (Studios) fully refunded our money for the tickets to the park, and that money was refunded back to Musical Destinations, but they wouldn’t give us any money,” Frost said.

In the summer, Frost said CHHS notified parents it had emptied the band boosters account and divided the funds among all of the band parents to provide partial refunds, which ended up totaling about $65 per student.

Meanwhile, the question of when parents would receive the rest of their refunds remained.

Frost said Helena band families also were involved in the situation with Musical Destinations, along with several schools in nearby counties.

Frost estimated 100 students from Chelsea were planning to go on the trip, and other schools could have had that many or more students.

“We’re talking about a large amount of money,” Frost said. “Where did that money go, and why can’t they refund the money?”

For Frost and other parents whose children were graduating seniors last year, the lack of closure is especially frustrating, and it’s something he has been vocal about to Shelby County Schools.

“I don’t have a child in the band now,” he said. “We’re just turning our backs on the parents of the seniors that have contributed to this program for six to eight years, pouring money into the program. That’s not right for them not to give us our money.”

Shelby County Schools released the following statement regarding the situation: “The Shelby County School District is currently working with our board attorneys to find a resolution to a situation involving Musical Destinations and refunds that have been requested by parents for trips that were canceled last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the district is not at liberty to provide certain details in regards to this case.”

Chelsea band parent Bryant Phillips paid for two of his children, one of whom was also a senior last year, to go on the spring trip.

Although Phillips, like Frost and other parents, has not received a full refund yet, he said he has not been charged any of the usual fees for his daughter’s participation in the band this school year.

Attempts to reach the owner of Musical Destinations for comment have been unsuccessful.

Beyond the financial aspect, the company’s failure lately to respond to inquiries about the refunds has left parents like Phillips and Frost with frustration and many unanswered questions.

“Somebody needs to do something,” Frost said. “We have been very patient for a year. This is not right.”

280 Main Story

One-of-a-kind ride: CTEC students attach BMW front to Toyota pickup

280 Main Story

Chelsea’s Nick Grant Program surpasses $1 million mark with latest grants

280 Main Story

Spain Park loses Final-Four heartbreaker in double OT at the buzzer

280 Reporter

Palmer nominates 24 students to U.S. Service Academies

Helena

Helena company helping to provide blankets and hats for newborns

Alabaster Main Story

SafeHouse Shelby to host Wellness Trail event to promote healthy improvements

News

Pelham City Schools votes for plan to raise teacher pay

Helena

Helena utilities rating upgraded by S&P Global

News

Pelham Scout looks to add flagpole to senior center

280 Main Story

Coworking space launches in Pelham

280 Main Story

Oak Mountain makes school history with Final Four win

Alabaster Main Story

Alabaster CityFest 2021 canceled amid ongoing pandemic concerns

Alabaster Main Story

Thompson’s Pam Vickers honored as top counselor

Alabaster Main Story

Findley shares heart attack story to emphasize heart health

Montevallo

Montevallo Council passes revised animal control ordinance

280 Reporter

SCS to hold kindergarten pre-enrollment in April

Montevallo

UM announces cyber tuition for graduate programs

280 Main Story

Brown indicted in 2018 Galleria shooting

Calera

Calera Walmart listed as COVID-19 vaccine location

280 Main Story

Why is Shelby County struggling to get vaccines?

280 Reporter

Commission approves incentives for biotech company’s expansion

Montevallo

UM Environmental Studies receives $15k grant

Montevallo

UM naming stage in memory of Luker

Calera

Local Main Street directors share updates with business leaders