Prime Prep Academy

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Prime Prep Academy was a grouping of charter schools in Texas cofounded in 2012 by Deion Sanders, a former American football and baseball player (the school's name is derived from his "Prime Time" moniker), who has also coached at the schools.[1][2] Initial enrollment was more than 1,100 students.[3] Prime Prep had campuses in Oak Cliff, Dallas and Fort Worth.[4] The school was established with the goal of giving every child a free laptop supported by the VSCHOOLZ program.[4] In January 2014, Superintendent Ron Price turned over documents to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office alleging that hundreds of laptops had been stolen from Prime Prep. He later gave the information to the FBI. The school was closed January 30, 2015, due to financial insolvency.[5]

Prime Prep athletics had an initial setback in its first year when the program was unable to field an eligible football team based on the rules of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which governs interscholastic activities of public schools (including charter schools) in Texas.[6] It had recruited significant portions of existing championship teams[7] and "league hopping" athletes.[8] After the issues were worked out, the school had problems finding opponents for their football team.[9] Ultimately Prime Prep would withdraw from the UIL and participate as an independent program.

The school was accused of racism and influence peddling.[10][11] In December 2013, Sanders pressured cofounder D.L. Wallace, a local minister, out of the leadership of the schools[12] over accusations of fraud[13][14] and assault.[15][16][17] Shortly afterwards Sanders was fired from his head coach position,[1][18] sparking an attempt by the school board to oust the superintendent who had fired Sanders.[19] The school then received further negative press for violations of the state's board meeting laws,[20] theft,[21] eviction,[22][23] and staff members failing to follow established policies.[14] The school was featured in local news coverage again in 2014 for failing to hold open meetings[24] and ranked as the lowest performing elementary school in North Texas as judged by Children at Risk.[25] In July 2014, it was announced that the Texas Education Agency was going to revoke the school's charter for inconsistencies with the National School Lunch Program and fiscal mismanagement to which the school responded that they were going to appeal the decision. In October 2014, The school stopped forwarding paycheck withholdings to the IRS, which had been averaging $25,000 to $28,000 per month. The IRS would later filed a tax lien of $56,625. [26][27]

In 2012, Prime Prep served as a backdrop for a reality TV series starring Sanders titled Deion's Family Playbook.[28][29]

Since 2013, Prime Prep and its nonprofit sponsor, Uplift Fort Worth, have been the subject of a federal lawsuit alleging wrongdoing in the National School Lunch Program. As of March 24, 2018, the case is still pending.


  1. ^ a b Mosier, Jeff (2013-12-01). "Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Academy draws scrutiny from Texas Education Agency | Dallas Morning News". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  2. ^ "Deion Sanders Fired By His Own School, Again". ThePostGame. 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  3. ^ Minora, Leslie (2012-05-09). "Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Academy Has Registered 1,100 Students and Counting | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  4. ^ a b Minora, Leslie (2012-02-22). "And So It Begins As Deion Sanders Rallies Support for His "Prime Prep" Charter Schools | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  5. ^ Mosier, Jeff (2015-02-08). "Prime Prep Academy troubles continue after closing". Retrieved 2015-02-09.
  6. ^ Nicholson, Eric (2012-08-20). "Deion's Prime Prep Academy Can't Field an Eligible Football Team. Can it Offer a Decent Education? | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  7. ^ Nicholson, Eric (2012-08-22). "Prime Prep Steals Coach, Basketball Team From State Champ Arlington Grace Prep | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  8. ^ Tone, Joe (2013-07-03). "Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Academy Has a New League, and Apparently a New Star Athlete | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  9. ^ Nicholson, Eric (2012-09-18). "Deion Sanders Literally Begs Oklahoma to Play Football Against Prime Prep | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  10. ^ Nicholson, Eric (2012-11-14). "Deion Sanders Defends Prime Prep By Promising Lawsuit, Calling Brett Shipp an "African American Killer" | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  11. ^ Hargrove, Brantley (2013-03-12). "Months After Prime Prep Hired Former State Board of Education Member, A Lawmaker Aims to Shut the Revolving Door | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  12. ^ Nicholson, Eric (2013-11-21). "Prime Prep Academy's Co-Founder Resigned Today Under Pressure from Deion Sanders | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  13. ^ Mosier, Jeff (2014-01-24). "Prime Prep failed to conduct background checks on 17, including Deion Sanders | Dallas Morning News". Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  14. ^ a b Leslie Minora (2012-05-03). "Deion Sanders' Charter School and the Making of a Prime Time Scam". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  15. ^ Silverstein, Amy (2014-01-30). "Deion Sanders Demanded a Raise, Threatened to Break Prime Prep CEO's Neck (Audio NSFW) | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  16. ^ Silverstein, Amy (2013-12-23). "Deion Sanders' Former Prime Prep Partner Writes Letter Accusing Sanders of Trying to Choke Him | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Pitbull's school: star promotes a radical idea for at-risk kids". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  19. ^ Silverstein, Amy (2013-12-09). "Prime Prep Board Tries, Fails to Fire School Superintendent Who Fired Deion Sanders | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  20. ^ Silverstein, Amy (2014-01-21). "Prime Prep Board Having a Difficult Time Figuring Out How To Schedule Meetings | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  21. ^ "Prime Prep Academy reports missing computers to Tarrant County DA | Dallas Morning News". 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  22. ^ Campbell, Elizabeth (2014-04-02). "Prime Prep sues after being evicted from Fort Worth church building | Fort Worth | News". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  23. ^ BRETT SHIPP (2014-03-28). "Fort Worth Prime Prep Academy students evicted over rent fight | Dallas - Fort Worth". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  24. ^ "Prime Prep Academy board meeting ends with shouting match | Dallas Morning News". 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  25. ^ Nicholson, Eric. "Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Is the Worst Elementary School In North Texas, Say Data | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
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  27. ^
  28. ^ "OWN orders more of Deion Sanders' reality show". Daytona Times. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  29. ^ "Deion Sanders - I'm Doing a Reality Show with Kids". 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2014-05-01.