By Erica Thomas, managing editor
SPRINGVILLE — The St. Clair County School Board has filed a lawsuit to recoup money for the parents of some Springville High School band members. The civil suit claims two counts of breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel, account stated, open account and unjust enrichment.
Springville High and several other central Alabama schools are still waiting for refunds after their band trips to Orlando were canceled at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company that organizes and plans trips for youth bands, Musical Destinations, Inc., is based out of Winter Garden, Fla.
Springville High School’s band is owed more than $105,000. After Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World temporarily closed in March 2020, parents began asking for their money back.
According to the lawsuit filed on Feb. 4, 2021, a representative with Musical Destinations promised to “give back the most amount of money” possible and stated, “if we get a refund from a vendor, you are getting back all of that money.”
Howard said he learned of the issue about six months ago. He said at that time, Musical Destinations was communicating with parents and those parents were hoping for a resolution. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
“I’m disappointed in Musical Destinations saying they were going to reimburse the parents, having correspondence and then not following through. The pandemic is hard enough as it is and our parents have struggled with losing jobs and financial difficulties.”
Howard said the hard work of the band members to get them to the point of being invited to Disney to play, shouldn’t have ended in financial difficulty for their families.
“They paid it because they wanted to provide opportunities for their children,” said Howard…”To have that taken away already and then not getting anything back for what you paid into it. It’s unfair to the parents and they are really struggling and could really use the money.”
Nearly 100 students and 70 chaperones from Springville High School paid for the trip.
Howard said despite the pandemic, the company must recognize they have an obligation to individuals who gave them money. He said going forward, contracts will need to state that in case of a pandemic, monies shall be refunded.
“You trust companies to do what they say they are going to do,” Howard said. “We have used this company in the past and a lot of bands have used this company in the past without any incident. As soon as the pandemic hit, everything changed,” he explained.
The school system has received phone calls and requests for interviews from news organizations in Florida and Alabama. Howard hopes the attention will mean a more speedy process for parents who are suffering.
“I’m optimistic that something great will happen for our Springville families,” Howard said…”Anytime that we can bring something of this magnitude to the light of a lot of people, including those in Florida and around the country, of what this company did and what this individual did to our parents, that’s going to hopefully expedite the process.”
As far as other schools involved, Musical Destinations returned an undeposited $21,000 check to Dora High School, but the school is still out $22,000. Universal Orlando said it never received money from Musical Destinations on behalf of Dora High School so the school’s band director believes Musical Destinations should still have the money to refund.
In Shelby County, one school has been refunded but Chelsea High School and Chelsea Middle School are still waiting. Homewood High School received a partial refund but some of the deposits were non-refundable.
Universal Orlando said in a statement it is no longer doing business with Musical Destinations.
Musical Destinations has refused to speak to news organizations about the matter.
You can view the full lawsuit filed in St. Clair County courts below.St. Clair County Lawsuit