Not only is the school's charter being revoked, its new Fort Worth location has not been cleared for operation.


FORT WORTH — Monday was the first day of school for Deion Sanders' troubled Prime Prep Academy.

Not only is the taxpayer-funded school's charter being revoked, its new Fort Worth location has not been cleared for operation by the state. But none of that stopped Prime Prep officials from opening its doors.

More importantly, it didn't stop Prime Prep parents from sending their children to a school that may be open for just a few more months.

Prime Prep administrators showed no hesitation Monday morning, welcoming dozens of kindergarten through seventh graders into the new storefront Prime Prep location in east Fort Worth; the one book-ended by adult-themed smoke shops.

It's a move that was never authorized by state officials, as is required. It was an omission that will cost Prime Prep thousands of dollars a day in state reimbursements until a proper application for a new location is received and accepted.

News 8 has learned that this isn't the first time school leaders failed to properly notify the state of a change in campuses. In March, the school was evicted from the building it was leasing on Panola Avenue after the owner — Fort Worth's Charity Church — said Prime Prep owed them money. Prime Prep received a certificate of occupancy from the City of Fort Worth for the new digs, but never properly notified the Texas Education Agency. Meanwhile, they continued to hold classes in the new building throughout April and May.

"When the books are closed for last year, if the school was paid for any days it operated at the unauthorized site, then that money would be recovered by TEA," agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe told WFAA on Monday.

The state sent Prime Prep $213,000 this week, which was supposed to be the final amount of money owed through the close of this past school year.

It's unclear how much of that money may need to be paid back.

Add to all this the fact that state education officials are in the process of revoking Prime Prep's charter to operate for misuse of federal lunch funds; and don't forget the half-dozen lawsuits filed against Prime Prep — the latest of which is a $9,037 claim for alleged non-payment of an air conditioning repair bill.

Yet, on Day One of school, parents like Shanee King enrolled their children in class... perhaps because administrators aren't disclosing the whole truth to parents who told us they had no idea the Prime Prep charter was being revoked.

"Well, I wasn't aware of that," said another parent, Takarra Walker. "But we are just going to pray and leave it in the Lord's hands, and hopefully everything will work out for them."

Not everyone is hoping that. Most notably, Prime Prep board member Okey Akpom, who got locked out and angry at a board meeting this spring. He was so upset with school operations, he is suing the board for mismanagement.

"There are no rules or laws," Akpom told News 8 Monday. "Both schools need to be shut down. These kids have not been treated fairly."

Neither Prime Prep's board chairman nor Deion Sanders will respond to our numerous requests for comment. School Superintendent Ron Price is out for medical reasons and unable to comment.

But Prime Prep's Dallas campus Monday welcomed a production crew taping an upcoming segment of Deion Sanders' reality show.

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