Killeen ISD parents angry over cap and gown refund checks

Local

KILLEEN, Texas – Killeen ISD parents are outraged after the district’s attempt to make things right for their 2020 seniors backfired – this time involving money.

The district said it was providing seniors that had already paid for their cap and gown a refund check for $55, but some seniors got a much larger check.

Now the clerical error from Herff Jones, a company that works with the district to provide those cap and gowns, is proving no good deed goes unpunished.

“I would love for them to just do right by these kids who have worked so hard. There’s kids joining the military. My daughter is one of them, and it’s just so not fair that their last year, they cannot, you cannot give this back to them,” said Reyhana Khalil, parent of Killeen ISD 2020 senior.

An emotional plea to the Killeen Independent School District from a parent tired of seeing her daughter let down by the district.

In an effort to make things right after cancelling in-person graduations because of COVID-19 concerns, the district announced back in April it would provide all high school seniors a free cap and gown, adding “Students who have already purchased a cap and gown will receive a reimbursement from Herff Jones by July 1st.”

Parents received checks in the mail, but not for the original $55 covering just the cap and gown – some received much larger checks.

“Honestly when I first saw it, I said, ‘Oh, we got $100.’ And I was pleasantly surprised like, ‘Oh, maybe they finally did something right by these seniors,'” said Kristen Lawhorn, parent of a Killeen ISD 2020 senior.

Days later, they received a letter from Herff Jones saying there was a clerical error and the checks were issued for incorrect amounts adding, “If you received a check, please be aware that it has been voided.” The letter says they will be re-sending checks with the amount of $55 and to avoid a bounced check fee, don’t deposit the first check.

In a statement to FOX44, Herff Jones says:

“We are aware of a clerical error that occurred within our business as we generated refund checks for some of our customers within the Killeen Independent School District, and we are working tirelessly to resolve it. This was an extremely unfortunate mistake – I assure you there was no malicious intent – and we offer our sincerest apologies to the families involved, as we’ve been communicating with them to issue new checks for the correct amount that was previously communicated by the district and resolve any issues. Customers can contact us via customerservice@texashj.com or (512) 243-7901 with any questions.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience as we make this right for the Killeen ISD community, and we greatly appreciate the majority who have been quick to repay the overage.”

Herff Jones/ Overall Recognition

“KISD is the one that allows them to come into the school and be a vendor, so ultimately I feel like they need to be the lead voice on this. I don’t think it’s good business ever to write a check and then say, ‘Oh, we’re going to cancel it.’ And. ‘Oh, by the way if you don’t get a fee, we’re going to ask you for our money back, anyway.’ That’s just weird,” said Lawhorn.

Parents say they are tired of the disappointments.

“Why should our kids be held responsible again for something that they didn’t have control over? They are expecting us to pay back a refund that we had no idea was an error,” added Khalil.

On a Facebook comment, KISD says the clerical error is not ideal, but this is not something the district has control over or was at fault in any way.

Still, parents believe this should be resolved between Herff Jones and Killeen ISD.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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