Dallas

Deion Sanders’ school Prime Prep expected to surrender charter

Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep Academy has reportedly decided to surrender its charter. The board will vote formally on the matter tonight.
Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep Academy has reportedly decided to surrender its charter. The board will vote formally on the matter tonight. WFAA.com

The board of a Texas charter school co-founded by Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders will vote tonight on surrendering its charter after two years of management feuds and financial woes that led to the state to take over its governance.

The board of the nonprofit Prime Prep Academy will meet tonight to vote on surrendering its charter, the night before the State Office of Administrative Hearings has scheduled a hearing on final revocation of the school’s charter, The Dallas Morning News reported.

T. Christopher Lewis is board president of Uplift Fort Worth, which holds the Prime Prep charter. He told the newspaper that the school’s finances are in “utter chaos.”

“We don’t have the financial resources to defend ourselves in an appeal,” he said. “In order to not waste the time of everyone involved, it was in Uplift’s best interest to give up the charter.”

The law firm that was preparing the school’s appeal withdrew last week after the school failed to pay its fees and stopped communicating with attorneys, the newspaper reported.

Almost two weeks ago, Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced that he would appoint a board of managers to run the school, effectively placing it under state control.

Albert Black, who was named president of that board, said it hopes to keep the school open through the end of the semester if financially possible, while the administration focuses on shutting down with as little disruption for students as possible.

“It’s never desirable when a school and set of people start with such great ambition and wanting to do so many things have to come to the decision that going forward is futile,” he told The Morning News.

A telephone number listed for Sanders was no longer in service. An email and social media messages to Sanders were not returned.

In 2013, Sanders had a falling-out with Prime Prep co-founder D.L. Wallace and was fired, rehired and fired again within a couple months. Wallace eventually resigned, and most of his supporters in top positions quit or were fired.

The school’s sports programs have faced scrutiny for recruiting and eligibility allegations. They also have fought employee turnover, and the school last April had to repay more than $45,000 received for providing subsidized meals in fall 2013 because the school provided no documentation those meals had been served.

         
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