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.
On Wednesday, FOX 4 spoke to the man who has been trying to turn the charter school around since January.
“I once heard that the children will pay for the sins of the father, and I don’t think it’s fair for the children of Prime Prep and my new administration to be paying for the sins of the father two years ago,” said Prime Prep superintendent Ron Price.
In Dec. 2012, the Texas Department of Agriculture sent D.L. Wallace, who co-founded the school with Sanders, a notice of serious deficiency with the summer food service program.
In February of this year, another review of the National School Lunch Program showed similar problems to that summer feeding program, including failure to retain three years of records to be made available to the Department of Agriculture upon request.
“A lot of these records we couldn't find, so it’s kind of hard to turn over stuff that you don’t have access to,” said Price.
In March of this year, the state suspended Prime Prep from the free lunch program, and 67 percent of the school’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
The Department of Agriculture tried to get $45,000 back from Prime Prep in meal reimbursements paid to the school because the charter could not prove how that money was spent.
“Why couldn't the school just pay the $45,000 when they wanted that money back?” asked FOX 4’s Shaun Rabb.
“Well, we filed an appeal on those dollars, and we unfortunately lost the appeal, and we are in the process of paying the money back,” said Price. “We are a cash strapped school district, so that means we don’t have the additional funds to pay it back at one time.”
State Sen. Royce West sits on the Senate Education Committee and says all hope may not be lost for Prime Prep.
“I’ve seen situations around the state where others have gotten an opportunity to correct problems that occurred in the past, but also making certain that the state is being reassured that they can do it, number one, and if there’s monies that are owed, that they pay ‘em back,” said West.
Price doesn't understand why the hammer is dropping on the school now.
“It’s almost like, you told me to fix the ship, we fixed it,” said Price. “Now you’re gonna send a torpedo. That’s kind of unfair.”
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