FOX 4 learned Tuesday afternoon that the State of Texas has moved to revoke the charter of Uplift Fort Worth, the parent company of Prime Prep Academy.
The move effectively shuts down the Prime Prep campuses in Fort Worth and Dallas. Prime Prep’s co-founder was NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
The state says the charter holder has failed to satisfy accepted standards of fiscal management and failed to comply with the Texas education code and its rules.
Prime Prep has until July 31 to appeal the decision to revoke the charter and can remain open during its appeal.
Prime Prep Academy opened in August 2012 and has been embroiled in multiple controversies since, involving academic struggles in the classroom and power struggles at the top.
The Texas Department of Agriculture sent D.L Wallace, the school’s cofounder, a notice of serious deficiency with the food service program in Dec. 2012 after a review.
In Feb. 2014, another review of the national school lunch program at Prime Prep showed more problems, and some of the same from the 2012 review.
The issues include failure to retain records related to the feeding program for three years and failure to make those records available to the Texas Department of Agriculture upon request.
The state sought to reclaim $45,000 pertaining to that feeding program because no documentation was provided to show the meals the school was reimbursed for were actually fed to children.
The state said the charter holder, Prime Prep, has demonstrated unsatisfactory financial performance that is both serious and has not been corrected.
Sanders told FOX 4 on Tuesday that he is not going to let the school be shut down.
“It's not education, not how we are treating kids or how we are blessing kids,” said Sanders. “It's about the food program.”
He was emphatic that Prime Prep would start the new school year, saying that he’d be happy to pay from his own pocket the money that’s owed to the state.
“$45,000?” said Sanders. “We talking about $45,000. I give you that right now. Let's get rid of this.”
Sanders also responded to the state's move on Twitter.
“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,” Sanders said in a series of tweets on Tuesday evening. “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”
All of the issues pre-date current superintendent Ron Price, who was brought in to clean up Prime Prep.