It’s the beginning of the end for Prime Prep Academy. The troubled charter school co-founded by former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders has been under scrutiny for quite some time. Today it was supposed to appear at a hearing, but school officials never showed.
The final clock started ticking on Prime Prep last summer. That’s when the Texas Education Commissioner sent the school, run by Uplift Fort Worth, a letter saying it was out of compliance with nutrition rules and also had accounting problems.
Informal appeals failed. Tuesday’s hearing in Austin was a last chance effort in the State Office of Administrative Hearing, known as SOAH. Texas Education Agency spokesperson Lauren Callahan was there.
“Their lawyer made a motion to withdraw,” Callahan says. “No one from the school was present at the hearing. And so our lawyers here at TEA asked the judge at SOAH for a motion of default. The judge did grant that motion for default.”
That’s the same as the school conceding defeat. Just a few weeks back Prime Prep officials admitted they were practically out of money. In the past year, hundreds of students had left. Judge Bill Newchurch didn’t formally revoke the charter Tuesday. But Callahan says TEA anticipates a ruling in its favor.
“The Commissioner is very satisfied with his statement, and certainly anticipates that charter will be revoked," Callahan says.
Callahan says it remains unclear exactly when Prime Prep will close. She says it’s usually best on everyone to close when the school year ends.
“I’m not certain that’s going to be possible in this case,” Callahan says. “We’re going to have to wait and see. The more we learn about Prime Prep charter, the more dire their financial situation looks.”
Managers installed by the TEA have called a meeting Friday to discuss when they might close Prime Prep Academy.