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

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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Joe Tone
Contact: Joe Tone