Deion Sanders' School Enters Spotlight Again as New Semester Begins

Tim DanielsFeatured Columnist IVMarch 26, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Deion Sanders of the NFL Network watches warmups on the field before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Prime Prep Academy, which was founded by former NFL star Deion Sanders, opened its doors for the new school year on Monday amid questions about its long-term outlook. The school, which has campuses in Dallas and Fort Worth, is down to a final appeal to remain open.   

A report from KDAF states the Fort Worth school started classes this week despite changing locations without getting clearance from the Texas Education Agency. The new venue is located near an adult-oriented business and is unlikely to receive state funding.

Dr. Daniel Johnson, who serves as the school's principal, remains optimistic even though the school hasn't been able to shake the negative spotlight.

"Despite all the things that are being said in the media, we're excited about this year," he said. "We have a new regime, a new set of teachers, a new administrative staff, so we're looking forward to a great year."

Whether the academy will make it through the entire school year is a mystery.

Jeff Mosier of The Dallas Morning News reports the final appeals process is likely to take at least most of the fall semester to complete. After that, the school will know whether it must shut down in the middle of the school year.

It's also noted that Sanders, who was removed from his official position with the school last year, remains present and influential. The crew from his reality show, Deion's Family Playbook, was there as students arrived on opening day.

Mosier points out students and their families are already considering other options just in case they are forced to switch schools before the enter of the school year:

At the Dallas campus, Marilyn Smith said she wasn't confident that her daughter Tiana would be able to finish her senior year there. But they decided to at least try.

'I'm hopeful, but we'll see what happens,' she said and acknowledged she was looking at her daughter's other options.

Sanders hasn't commented directly about the situation during the latest wave of media attention. He did use his official Twitter account to post a picture of a group of students getting ready for class on Monday and re-tweeted several messages from people noting the first day at Prime Prep.

The Dallas Morning News also reports state funding could be restored if a relocation agreement is passed and then approved by the Texas Education Agency. There are currently problems with getting that added to the next school board meeting agenda, though.

While the school has dealt with issues since opening two years ago, it's clear administrators and students are moving forward as planned until told otherwise. No firm date for the final appeal vote was provided in either report.

As for Sanders, based on The Dallas Morning News report his role with the school is apparently as murky as its future.