The state charter for Prime Prep Academy, a school co-founded by Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, will reportedly be revoked, threatening to close campuses located in Dallas and Fort Worth.
North Texas' Fox 4 News reported on Tuesday's story:
Fox 4's Shaun Rabb noted that the school hasn't aligned with the State of Texas' education code, and it's been implicated in fiscal mismanagement.
Sanders took to Twitter to further outline what went wrong and provide a statement on the situation, as transcribed by Rabb:
My former Co-Founder DL Wallace was a Crook and Heartless and we are still suffering from his Devilish ways. TEA informed PrimePrep they would revoke the charter pending appeal for the Food Program that Wallace hustled the state out of $45,000. We will appeal immediately.
I feel bad for this nonsense of yesterday affecting today and the potential of tomorrow for our students and NEW administration. We will fight this like we have all the other battles that we've faced. 100% graduation rate 2 years straight and 15 scholarships awarded in only 2 years of existence. In no form or fashion has me or my administration done any wrong regarding feeding or educating our students. TRUTH. I will pay the 45,000 myself to right DL Wallace wrong to the state if they will accept it. Don't punish our kids for this Fool. Truth.
School superintendent Ron Price outlined the specifics of why Prime Prep Academy threatens to be closed, citing the letter he received from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The main points were summarized by Tawnell D. Hobbs of The Dallas Morning News:
In the letter to Price, TEA cited four reasons for shutting down the school. The school has been ineligible to participate federal free-and-reduced-lunch program and it cannot participate in child nutrition programs. Its financial issues have been "serious" and not corrected, and Prime Prep has run afoul of the Texas Education Code and "generally accepted accounting standards."
Top high school point guard prospect Emmanuel Mudiay attended Prime Prep Academy and was slated to play college basketball at SMU. However, he elected to instead renounce his commitment to the Mustangs in favor of playing professionally overseas.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reported on that development Monday—and felt that Mudiay's decision, combined with the news regarding Prime Prep Academy, may be interconnected:
Looks as though maybe there was more to this Emmanuel Mudiay to overseas story -- as I said yesterday: http://t.co/Dh1yNNfagZ— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 15, 2014
The Dallas Morning News' Omar Majzoub shared a similar sentiment:
I'm sure Mudiay is excited about the opportunity to earn money for his family, but he wanted to play at #SMU. Timing is everything...— Omar Majzoub (@OmarMaz34) July 15, 2014
Maybe I didn't say that right: Mudiay didn't do this ONLY for money. I know he's excited to help his family but he knew what was coming too— Omar Majzoub (@OmarMaz34) July 15, 2014
Sanders' passion for his school is evident, but the serious allegations leveled by the Texas Education Agency offers a tall task ahead for Prime Prep Academy to avoid closure. A lack of oversight and accountability has evidently backed the school into a tough corner. Fox 4 reports that Price, who's relatively new on the superintendent job, isn't charged with any of the school's shortcomings.
Regardless of who's to blame for Prime Prep Academy's issues, though, the influence Sanders carries seems unlikely to keep the school running. Even with his prominence in the community as a former Dallas Cowboys superstar, Sanders has struggled from the start with this school; now its days could finally be numbered.
It appears the appeals process will be expeditious, but the deadline to file the motion is July 31. Sanders and Co. will have to move quickly to salvage Prime Prep Academy.