Deion Sanders' Charter School Being Forced to Surrender Its Charter
In September 2011, former NFL star Deion Sanders won the rights to open a charter school in Texas. Just over three years later, Sanders' school is nearing its final days.
On Friday, Prime Prep Academy announced it would surrender its charter, per WFAA.com's Brett Shipp, putting the school's future in doubt. The school's board planned to meet Monday to surrender the charter, but cancelled an hour before the meeting after it appeared as though they wouldn't have enough members present (three) needed for a quorum, per Jeff Mosier of The Dallas Morning News.
The school board's abandoned meeting won't spare Prime Prep from surrendering its charter, however. During a hearing Tuesday, "an administrative judge granted the state's motion for a default judgment against Prime Prep Academy in its final charter revocation appeal," Mosier reported. No school officials attended the hearing.
"We don't have the financial resources to defend ourselves in an appeal," said T. Christopher Lewis, board president of Uplift Fort Worth, which holds Prime Prep's charter, to Mosier. "In order to not waste the time of everyone involved, it was in Uplift's best interest to give up the charter."
The revocation of the charter means the school will close at the end of the year, if not sooner. One of Prime Prep's new state-appointed managers told Shipp that they will work to keep the school open through the end of the school year, if possible.
The Texas Education Agency began to attempt revoking Prime Prep's charter this past summer due to "improper financial management and failure to comply with the state education code." The TEA cited the school's removal from the National School Lunch Program—a federally funded program providing free and reduced-price lunch to needy children—as a main reason to strip its charter.
Prime Prep's troubles didn't stop there, however. According to Mosier, the school's "deteriorating finances" led to delays in paying staff members, "and employees lost their health insurance after premiums were not paid."
"We as a board fought as hard as we could to turn the ship around," Lewis told Mosier. "At the end of the day, we just couldn't overcome the obstacles."
Sanders posted about Prime Prep's troubles on his Facebook page Monday:
According to Mosier, a state-appointed board of managers and superintendent are reviewing the school's finances to determine whether it can remain open through the remainder of the school year. The school has roughly 300 students this year.
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