A school trip for the eighth grade Mentor, Ohio Public Schools students to Washington D.C. was set and ready to go. Students were excited, bags were packed, lots of money was paid.
But on Tuesday — the day before the trip — Discovery Tours, the company contracted by the school district to handle the trip, canceled.
What's 511 students multiplied by $455 each? That's $232,505 paid.
Discovery Tours told Mentor Public Schools it had to cancel the trip because the company was unable to receive final confirmation for the hotel rooms. The school district said it contacted the hotel itself to get more information.
"We were told by hotel management that, under advice from the hotel's legal counsel, all they could disclose to us is: Discovery Tours was unable to meet the contractual obligations," Superintendent Bill Porter wrote in a letter to parents.
However, the school district said Discovery Tours told them otherwise. But the superintendent said even if the district was able to secure the hotel rooms itself, it wouldn't feel comfortable entrusting the travel company with its students.
"I am sure you are feeling angry as you read this, as all of us have been since we received the news late this afternoon," Porter wrote. "We know this is an educational experience students look forward to for years prior to 8th grade that is being taken from them for no apparent reason."
Porter said the middle school principals will bring all eighth graders together on Wednesday to discuss the situation, and school will be in session as usual.
Mentor Public Schools said it is also working to address the financial implications of the cancellation.
"Refunds for the trip are undoubtedly on everyone's minds and at this time, we do not have full explanations yet, but I can assure you, we will work diligently to secure restitution," the letter said.
Lots of eighth graders are going to bed with sad faces Tuesday night.