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Pro Football Star’s Charter School in Texas Likely to Close

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I have never understood the idea that anyone can run a school, even people who have never been educators, even people who are high-school dropouts (think Andre Agassi).

 

So it comes as no surprise when a school run by a football great runs into trouble. In this case, it is the charter school opened by professional star Deion Sanders. The New York Times wrote about the school last year. Opened in 2012, the school quickly had a world-class basketball team, its games broadcast on ESPN, but its academic quality was far below par. According to the Times, the lower grades were rated F by a respected nonprofit group, and its high school had no rating due to missing data.

 

Now the school is in deep trouble and might even lose its charter in charter-friendly Texas.

 

The Dallas school founded in 2012 is in financial straits after years of management disputes that led to a state takeover. Prime Prep could close in the middle of the semester if found insolvent.
Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams earlier this month announced that he would appoint a board of managers to run the school, effectively placing it under state control.
The sports programs of Prime Prep have faced scrutiny for recruiting and eligibility allegations. The school also has fought employee turnover, and last April had to repay more than $45,000 it received for providing subsidized meals in 2013 because the school provided no documentation those meals were served.

 

You might well wonder how a school founded in 2012 has been in “financial straits after years of management disputes.” I wonder too.

 

According to Forbes, the school is operating under “crushing debt” with finances that are in “utter chaos.”

 

Sanders was among those in 2012 who opened the school with the goal of combining a college prepartory curriculum with a high-powered athletic program. The school, with two locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, did develop a big-time basketball program, but most of what it produced was chaos and headlines. Through the course of its two-plus years, Sanders was fired, hired, re-fired and re-hired as school leaders and administrators fought with local media, with the authority that runs Texas public high school sports, and with each other (sometimes physically).

 

As the chaos mounted, so did the bills, which got harder to pay as enrollment fell by half to about 300 students, and eventually the state of Texas stepped in to oversee things. Sanders claimed a merger with another charter school was imminent (it wasn’t). He also seemed just as concerned with his latest reality show, refusing to grant an interview to a local TV station regarding the school when it refused to allow the show’s cameras to film the interview that was being filmed.

 

 

 

 

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