Texas Has Revoked the Charter of Prime Prep, the Public School Founded by Deion Sanders

deion sanders prime prep.jpg
Patrick Michels
Deion Sanders meets with parents at an open house before Prime Prep opened in 2012.
It was two and a half years ago that we, along with every other media outlet in town, started telling you about Deion Sanders' disastrous plan to open a charter school with campuses in Oak Cliff and Forth Worth. That disastrous plan eventually became a disastrous reality called Prime Prep Academy, the subject of two Observer cover stories and countless Brett Shipp EXCLUSIVES, featuring lawsuits, throw-downs, old-school corruption involving old-school church leaders, and some really exciting high-school basketball. Sanders, the self-described (but fired-and-rehired) "Head Nigger in Charge," was at the center it all.

See also:
- Deion Sanders Demanded a Raise, Threatened to Break Prime Prep CEO's Neck (Audio NSFW)
- Deion Sanders' Bitter and Violent Quest to Retake Control of His Crumbling Charter School
- Deion Sanders' Charter School and the Making of a Prime Time Scam

There will, it appears, be no more. The Texas Education Agency, which granted Prime Prep's charter in 2012 despite brazen lies and attempted kick-backs on its initial application, informed school officials today that it has revoked that charter, citing problems with its school-lunch program and "fiscal mismanagement."

The problems began immediately, Lizzette Gonzales Reynolds, TEA's chief deputy commissioner, wrote in a letter to the school today. With 67 percent of Prime Prep's eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch, the school's implementation of the National School Lunch Program was crucial, she wrote. But as early as December 2012, federal regulators notified the school it was failing to follow the program's rules.

The school promised to correct the problems. But earlier this year, the feds found similar "deficiencies," including $45,000 worth of reimbursements for which there was no proof the meals were ever served. They demanded the money back and, more importantly, kicked the school out of the free-lunch program. Without access to that program, Gonzales Reynolds wrote, Prime Prep can't continue to operate.

Sanders said on Twitter this afternoon that the school will appeal, blaming the problems, as he has been doing for months, on his former business partner and co-founder, D.L. Wallace.

But Wallace, who resigned in 2013, had been gone for months when the feds discovered the most recent problems with the lunch program. And given the school's history -- which includes, despite Sanders' claims, academic issues that forced the NCAA to rule two basketball stars ineligible -- a successful appeal seems unlikely. Instead, the ruling seems to spell the end of a school that should have never had a beginning. Its students, in that case, will disperse next fall to their neighborhood schools, other charters or, if they're so lucky, to a basketball factory more solvent than Sanders'. They'll be a couple years behind, but what's a couple years for inner-city young people, right?


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27 comments
bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

The author got it wrong - TEA hasn't yet revoked Prime's charter.  What they said is that they will do so, not that they have.


Threeboys
Threeboys

This school is no different than the soccer/futbol schools in the rest of the world.  Money first, athletes second, edumucation when its convenient.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Who could have seen this one coming?

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

If you have to tell people it's the TRUTH...it isn't.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

This may be another factor in SMU losing the #1 recruit to European basketball

MattL11
MattL11

Even if Rick Perry goes off and says something stupid, the revocation of Prime's charter will still be the least surprising news of the day. 


I don't blame the parents as much as others do. To any objective observer (Observer?), the promises made at the outset were obviously too good to be true. However, it's hard to put the lion's share of the blame on desperate parents for wanting to believe that Prime would help their kids. Especially given the limited educational options available at the time. 


The TEA, on the other hand, should have known better and never should have granted the damn charter in the first place. 

Rooster0620
Rooster0620

Who on earth would ever think sending their kid to this clown's school was a good idea?...

wcvemail
wcvemail

I really can say, "I told you so." Back during the school year, somebody on this board asked how long it could keep going. I predicted the license would be pulled this summer, with school and the Lege out of session, when the worst news from the school year had died down. None of Prime's phone calls to Austin cronies are being returned right now because Royce West et al are "on vacation."

messwright
messwright

Correction: it was YOU, Dallas Observer, not the city's other news outlets, that reported on the obvious farce that was Prime Prep from Day One. No one else bothered to investigate and report the many red flags until they were sure the ship was sinking. It's gracious of you to act like that happened, but it didn't.


I don't see how so many people can gloat on the comment boards, though, as there are nearly 600 (or more) kids who have had their educations stall because of this madness. Commenters will beat up the parents, but many probably did believe they were helping their kids somehow/didn't know any better. That's what's really sad about this whole thing.

Greg820
Greg820

A sucker is born every minute, to include the TEA and any "parent" that would send their child to such an incompetent place (I could not in good conscience use the word "school”).

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Dog finally bites man.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Burn....You know you mean business when Tone exits Maternity Leave to pen an article posting at 6 pm on a Tuesday

Blackman2day
Blackman2day

@houston.carson74:  Yes there are some white kids enrolled at both campuses.  The school is predominately African-American, but it is diverse.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@MattL11

I don't understand how their options were limited. You mean limited options such as "real" schools? Or do you mean that real schools would limit their (children's) athletic aspirations?

Fully agree on your last point.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@wcvemail 

Just about everyone can say, "I told you so" about this one.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@messwright

I feel for the kids.

Any adult that was duped into placing their child(ren) into the hands of Deion Sanders for guidance and education should have expected exactly the results they got. 

Fred-dorfman76
Fred-dorfman76

The parents are to blame as well. Why would you send your kids to a school founded by a dumb jock who never finished college?

James080
James080 topcommenter

@Greg820 

It was never meant to be a school. It was designed as a "tax sink."

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@ScottsMerkin Here, I edited for you: "You know you mean business when Tone ... pen(s) an article."

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Not so cocky, Joe. .. "Forth" Worth???

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

ok ok, no man would really want 6 straight weeks at home with a crying newborn and post partum wife. I honestly cant wait for his or his minions retort to this Observer article

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