Some Financial facts regarding the Disney trip

Below are answers to some questions that have come up recently:

Question:  Why do we have to follow the payment plan?  Why can’t I just pay it all at the end?

Payments for the trip to Florida are not made to the boosters just to provide a balanced pay schedule.  For each payment, we will be purchasing transportation, food reservations, hotel rooms, and tickets for the several activities that will be attended.  Our dinner entertainment , for example, will be reserved for a certain number of members and a deposit from the membership is needed to reserve those seats.  Participants must pay on time because the boosters must also pay on the date these deposits are due.  There is not enough funds in the booster account to cover for members who are late with payments.
Question:  Can I get my money back if there is an emergency and it prevents me from going?

Getting your money back depends on when and what the reason is for the drop.  For example, if a student pays the full amount in September and then moves in October, we MAY have enough time to make changes in room assignments and ticket numbers.  In this case, the student would probably receive all their money back.  On the other hand, if a student drops in November or later, the money would be harder or impossible to get back because numbers are set and the money may have already been spent on something that can’t be returned.  

It makes sense that if you don’t attend, you should get your money back.  However, due to cost breakdowns by room and bus seats, it is not that simple.   Another reason for this is the cost of the trip is divided by how many students attend not just charged by each individual student.  Because of this, most Tour companies charge a penalty for dropping out and it is this “penalty” that covers the cost of the bus so other students and parents attending don’t have to eat the cost of the student that dropped out.  We do not use a tour company to cut down on an unnecessary profit margin keeping the cost of our trip down.  However, the same rules apply as the Band Boosters can’t possibly cover the costs of students dropping out.  This is why we ask for cash deposits early in the year to firm up commitments and continue to have payments throughout the year because a handful of students dropping out can take a huge toll on the cost of the trip.

Question:  How is the cost of the trip determined?

As stated above, the cost of the trip is not a pay “per person” rate.  If it was, it would not matter who dropped from the roster.  The pay is based upon Quad occupancy and the division of seats used on the bus.  For example, housed are 4 students in a room splitting the cost of the room 4 ways.  We then collect the money from each student.  If someone drops the trip, the occupants could be charged for Triple occupancy costing them more money.  Who pays for the difference?  We can’t ask the remaining kids to put up the 4th person’s cost nor should the boosters be responsible for covering the cost if there is a drop out.  This also includes your seat on the bus.  Transportation is a set fee divided by how many people agreed to participate.  For every person that drops, the cost of the bus stays the same resulting in the rest of the tour group compensating for those that dropped out for those empty seats.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mr. Barbaro as soon as possible to get them answered.  Thanks.


Questions on the importance of Paying by Due Date: Posted 11/16 -
Many students are to still turn in their November Disney payment with some also having an outstanding October payment resulting in being behind $10,575.00 in the Disney account. It is important to balance these accounts as soon as possible as we will now begin to finish paying each vendor as we head into the new year. Please remember that all payments to the Florida Vendors MUST be done 4-5 weeks before departure and in some cases sooner which is why we collect payments the way we do. The January payment, for example, will go toward the purchase of the Disney tickets which will then be sent to us via FED EX prior to our departure so that we may have time to inventory them, label them, and sort them by chaperone. 
Information on the Trip: Posted 11/1 -
Many people are reaching out and asking questions regarding information for the Florida Trip. You can find information on Florida under the Florida 2017 Tag on the Band's Webpage. There, you will find information about our venues and places we will visit as well as a quick Itinerary of what to expect during the week. As we get closer to departure, look for announcements on Facebook, our Main page, and on the Florida announcement page in the tab above. We will also add documents, such as the Florida Handbook, and any final handouts on the PDF page. If you are planning on keeping your child for a longer stay after we leave for home, paperwork for permission to do that will be in the handbook. Here is a link to the Florida info page. 
Disney Price Increases Posted 4/10 -
Just a note about the Florida Trip: Bids are coming in for 2017 and the lowest bids are our most liked Vendors for Hotel and Transportation that we have hired in the past. Including Disney, costs for 2017 have increased substantially. For example: A Disney 3 day starter pass for a band member in 2015 was $165. For our next trip, this same ticket is $210 each. That does not include park hopping or a water park. In 2015, our transportation was $9,200 per coach. (Which I believe was very low at the time) Transportation for 2017 will cost us close to $5,000 more. There was a slight increase in hotel costs at around $10 more per student per night. This total is close to a $110 increase per person in cost from 2015 to 2017. Either we will have to drop something from the Itinerary to keep the trip under the 2015 Budget or there may need to be a price increase going into 2017.  
2017 Florida Chaperone Request List as of 4/8/16 -
List of current chaperones interested in Florida 2017:  Let Mr. B know if we have missed anyone or you are interested and not on the list!  All Chaperones will need to have a Volunteer application on file with the Board of Education along with a valid background check through the state.  Chaperones pay the same rate as the student membership.
We will be in need of about 9 Female and 7 Male chaperones at the most.

Jennifer Amon, Lynette Gilles, Crystal Hess, Bruce and Tammy Hammond, Lisa MacLean, Amy Rakar, Jean Maxwell, Bethany Matos 


Disney Chaperone -
We are now looking for parents that are interested in chaperoning the Disney trip next spring.  Parents pay the same price as the students and at the same payment schedule.  This means that if you are picked to attend, you will need to pay your $100 deposit by May 6th as well.  The process to pick the team to travel can be complex.  We try to be fair to everyone.  Preference is sometimes given to parents of older students as freshman and sophomore students have a chance to attend again in 2 years.  We also like to take some veteran chaperones as it helps with the leadership within the chaperone staff. BUT, that does not mean that parents of younger students don't get picked.  So if you are interested, please do try.   All overnight chaperones for school trips are required to have a volunteer application on file with the Amherst Schools AND MUST also have a background check on file by January of next year.  If you are interested in attending next spring with the band, please email Mr. Barbaro.  He will then publish the approved list about a week before the due date so you may pay your deposit.  Any questions, don't hesitate to ask.  Thanks!