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DeKalb County Schools seeking more than $40K in refunds over cancelled band trips

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DeKalb County Schools seeking more than $40K in refunds over cancelled band trips

This graphic shows a breakdown of how much high schools in DeKalb County say they are owed by Musical Destinations after the travel company took their money for band trips, canceled the band trips and didn't provide appropriate refunds.

DeKalb County Schools is looking to get back tens of thousands of dollars in refunds from Florida-based travel company Musical Destinations after band trips were paid for then cancelled.

Altogether, the schools are looking for more than $40,000. Fyffe, Geraldine and Sylvania high schools had plans to go to Atlanta prior to the pandemic. Crossville, Ider and Plainview high schools were planning to go to Washington, D.C.

Planning for the trips started in 2019, and all were cancelled in 2020.

One parent alone said she's out nearly $4,000 for a trip to Washington, D.C, that never happened. 

"We were hopeful in the beginning, and everything we were hopeful for just never panned out," said parent Vernie Slaton. 

Slaton's daughter was a senior in 2020. She said her daughter was looking forward to closing out high school on the stage. 

"She was looking forward to this like a great memory, kind of the final chapter, and being able to do something so large, after being in the band for six years," said Slaton. 

But the travel company, Musical Destinations, cancelled all band trips when the pandemic struck. 

"I think this is an example, probably, of a small business that was affected by Covid-19," said DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Wayne Lyles. "From our understanding, they've filed for bankruptcy."

The last time the district has heard from Musical Destinations was in August 2020, Lyles said — a process taking entirely too long for students and parents who gathered their own money for the trips. 

"Parents are becoming more concerned as time goes on," said Lyles. "They'd like answers." 

In June 2020, the president of Musical Destinations alerted the band director at Crossville High School of the refund process. Plainview High School was the first to submit the necessary documentation to Musical Destinations and the only school to get a refund.

The refund they received wasn't even the full amount students there paid. 

Now, Dekalb County Schools is in the process of taking legal action to get students and parents their money back. 

"For our attorneys, this is fairly technical, because this is a Florida-based company, so it has a federal process for us to take any legal action to get money from them since it's an out-of-state company," said Lyles. 

Slaten said the frustrating part is that parents felt like they had no resources. The superintendent said Dekalb County Schools had booked trips through Musical Destinations in the past and had a good experience.

WAAY 31 reached out to Musical Destinations for comment but has not heard back. 

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