- By Nancy Bowman Contributing Writer
UPDATE @7:54 a.m.
Discovery Tours, the company that canceled the annual trip to Washington, D.C. for Troy sixth-graders, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
According to the bankruptcy filing, the company has $1.37 million in assets but owes $3.92 million, according to media reports.
Troy City Schools sixth-graders and their parents were notified Friday that the annual trip to Washington, D.C., probably won’t occur.
The district isn’t alone as school districts across the state reported their trips were being canceled because Discovery Tours, based in the Cleveland area, allegedly had not paid for reservations at hotels and bus lines.
The students and chaperones had paid nearly $200,000 total.
By late Friday afternoon, the company had sent Troy school officials an email that read:
“Subject: Discovery Tours - Status
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.”
Students at Van Cleve school in Troy were notified Friday afternoon of the “unfortunate development,” Principal Matt Siefring wrote in a letter to parents.
“To say I am disgusted by the prospective loss of this learning opportunity for our students is a tremendous understatement,” Siefring wrote. “That said, my focus and that of the staff of Van Cleve remains the safety, education and well-being of our students.”
Troy City Schools filed a complaint Friday against Discovery Tours with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Complaints, Superintendent Eric Herman said. Parents were being notified by a phone message along with letters and postings on the school website.
“We are not giving up hope, but right now it doesn’t look good,” Herman said of the message to students.
He said 192 students had paid for the trip, which is scheduled to begin May 20. Another 58 adults were planning to attend. The cost per person was around $800.
Troy school leaders have been unable to reach the company and were told by the hotel and bus company that reservations were made but not paid. The district has used the company for five years. Herman said.
The attorney general’s office said Friday it had received more than 170 complaints about Discovery Tours, primarily from parents who were concerned about canceled trips after they paid for their child’s trip.
“Like many schools and families, we are concerned about what’s happening with Discovery Tours and we want answers,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a media release.
The office will accept complaints on its website, ohioattorneygeneral.gov or by calling 1-800-282-0515 weekdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.