More than six months since their daughters' trip to a Florida softball tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Port Washington parents say they are still waiting for more than $25,000 in refunds.
The Paul D. Schreiber High School varsity softball team was set to attend the tournament in Orlando in April. Then, the pandemic struck, the trip was canceled, and parents began awaiting refunds.
Doron Nissan, whose daughter is on the team, said parents paid $1,800 each for about 14 girls planning to make the trip. The payments went to the Port Washington school district, he said, which in turn paid KSA Events, the Florida company hosting the contest.
"Where did our money go?" Nissan asked in an interview Wednesday morning. "We're still sitting here in mid-November and we really don't know what the story is."
In a statement late Wednesday afternoon, Port Washington Superintendent Michael Hynes said the district has been in communication with KSA since the spring, and the school board has approved the release of $17,800 in funds to reimburse the families.
"The District will continue to advocate on behalf of our students and their families to come to a resolution with KSA Events, including the continued pursuit of litigation if needed," the statement read.
District spokesman Jake Mendlinger did not respond to requests for interviews with Hynes or other district officials.
KSA Events did not respond to a request for comment. The website of the company states, regarding its cancellation policy: "While we are trying to be as flexible as possible we still have to adhere to our obligations to our Vendors and Clients."
In October, an attorney for the school district sent a letter to KSA demanding a $16,222 refund for the canceled trip, according to a copy of the letter a Port Washington official shared with Anthony Cavallaro, who in turn shared it with Newsday. Cavallaro's daughter also was to attend the tournament.
The letter states the district paid KSA nearly $27,000 for the trip, including airfare, food, and participation fees. Mendlinger did not respond to a question about why the district was requesting a refund smaller than what it had paid.
Cavallaro said Port Washington officials have told him the district has received a voucher for the canceled airfare. But he has not asked for or received any airfare reimbursement yet. Mendlinger did not respond to a question on the topic.
Cavallaro also had expressed frustration about the outstanding refunds, but he praised the school board late Wednesday for its decision to put $17,800 toward reimbursing families.
"That's great," he said. "To me, that was really unexpected."