Fort Worth Prime Prep Academy students evicted over rent fight

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 28 at 6:51 PM

FORT WORTH -- Some Prime Prep Academy parents are pulling their children out of the school Friday as the landlord evicted Deion Sanders' charter school from their Fort Worth campus.

Parents described a scene of confusion and police intervention, all of it over allegations that Prime Prep Academy was not paying rent. Prime Prep students were evicted from a church building Friday where records indicated the school was not even supposed to be paying rent.

Deion Sanders and D.L. Wallace co-founded Prime Prep Academy two years ago. The high school campus is in Dallas, the elementary school campus is in Fort Worth.

Friday in Fort Worth, the landlord of Prime Prep, Bishop F.R. Mays of Charity Church, kicked the students out and changed the locks. He said Deion Sanders' school administrators stopped paying the $18,000 per month rent.

"Can you imagine that? Millionaires running out on the bill,” Mays said. “Wow.”

While classes resumed in the building next door, some parents, like Charles Hibbler, were already pulling their children out.

"I took my first grader out because there was no structure on this campus and the curriculum is terrible," Hibbler said.

Ron Price is the new superintendent at Prime Prep, and said he’s outraged that Bishop would pull the plug on students.

"Anyone who would disrupt a school - disrupt a campus where kids are learning - are low class human beings,” Price said.

He said the school stopped paying the rent this month because the lease agreement was not legitimate.

The lease was signed last September by a former finance director under the direction of co-founder D.L. Wallace, who resigned late last year. That lease was never approved by the board of trustees for the parent organization of Prime Prep Academy, Uplift Wort Worth, CDC.

The original lease, approved by the Texas Education Agency and signed by Wallace two years ago, says "the Lessee shall NOT be required to pay rent for the first three years."

Price also said it appears Wallace still has ties to the landlord.

"It's unfortunate that Mr. Wallace supposedly is no longer affiliated with Prime Prep,” Price said. “But every month we pay the bill, he deposits our check."

The landlord Mays denies that, and said Prime Prep officials have been paying the rent because the new lease in question is legal.

D.L. Wallace has not returned our request for comment.

Texas Education Agency officials, which are investigating multiple allegations of impropriety at Prime Prep, had no response to the latest developments, other than to say they are satisfied that the students had been moved to a new campus.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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