More shake-ups, new allegations at Prime Prep Academy

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 7:11 PM

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DALLAS — More shake-ups were announced Monday at Deion Sanders' troubled Prime Prep Academy, which has campuses in Dallas and Fort Worth.

The charter school's new superintendent said he has terminated several administrators, teachers, and staff. His goal is to clean up the mess at Prime Prep and comply with state laws.

After a year-and-a-half of questionable operations, parent frustrations, and now an ongoing Texas Education Association investigation, problems at the taxpayer-supported Prime Prep Academy are being exposed.

A News Eight investigation has raised numerous questions about alleged financial and academic mismanagement at the school.

Allegations of bullying, poor building conditions and unqualified staff were magnified last fall after co-founder Deion Sanders started accusing his business partner — co-founder D.L. Wallace — of mismanagement. Wallace has since resigned.

Now, a new superintendent, former Dallas Independent School District board member Ron Price, has been hired to reorganize operations.

"We've found a lot of individuals on the payroll who should not be on the payroll," Price said. "We've found individuals who effectively have not done anything to enhance the education of the kids at Prime Prep School; they have to go."

Price said he spent the day Monday giving a dozen teachers and administrators a simple option: Quit or be fired.

Price said some top administrators were paid more money than official records reflect and state law allows. He said he has found evidence of nepotism, conflicts of interest, and suspects some were paid for doing nothing at all.

So what does all this mean for the 500 students still enrolled at the school?

"We are bringing in new textbooks and new strategies to best educate the children,” Price said. "We will make sure the kids at Prime Prep will get the same education that every child receives, and we will demand they get a world-class education."

Late Monday afternoon, the Texas Education Agency announced Prime Prep Academy has not been doing complete background checks as required by law. The state has also determined that the schools were not handicap accessible as required by law.

The state's investigation — and our investigation — continues.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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