Education
12:00 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

Why Texas Says It's Not Prime Time to Give Deion Sanders' Charter School State Money

Football legend Deion Sanders is used to the media spotlight. The two-time Super Bowl winner earned the nickname "Prime Time" for his flashy style and aggressive speed. But it's his Prime Prep Academy that's been grabbing headlines lately. 

The charter school founded by the former Dallas Cowboys cornerback suffered a string of setback, including allegations that led the Texas Education Agency to revoke its charter. The school is currently appealing the decision, but it's in hot water once again for opening a second campus without TEA approval. 

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke to Dallas Morning News reporter Jeff Mosier about the state of the charter school and its outspoken founder. You can read some of the interview highlights below. 

On the school's expansion:

“It’s an open-enrollment charter school, it has two campuses, one in Fort Worth, which is mostly elementary school, and then a second campus in in Dallas, which is mostly middle school and high school," says Mosier, "they’re charter schools which means they get funding from the state but they’re operated by private non-profits.”

On use of state funds:

“It is still getting state money while it’s appealing but it’s actually a little bit trickier because they moved the Fort Worth campus over the summer without the permission of the state," says Mosier. "So, right now, they’re not getting any funding for the students attending the Fort Worth campus.”

On the allegations:

“There’s multiple investigations by the TEA underway but what they’re actually revoking their charter for is the fact that Prime Prep was removed form the National School Lunch Program which is the federal funding that goes to low-income students for free and reduced meals," says Mosier.

"Prime Prep was actually unable to show that they used that money for what they intended to use it for, not clear if it was misused or not, there was just no paperwork or inadequate paperwork to show it. In addition to that, there was just overall financial mismanagement, and actually a list of about 50 different problems that they had, which is actually similar to a list of problems that they had several years ago whenever they were audited,” he says.

On the effect on Sanders' legacy:

“I’m not sure that it’s hurt him too much, I think a lot of the people it may have hurt him with were already suspicious of Deion Sanders. He’s a very polarizing figure. He’s very beloved by a lot of people in the Dallas area," Mosier says. "They’re there because of Deion Sanders he has a very popular reality show right now which partially focuses on his work with the charter school. Even though he was fired in December and still has not been hired back, he still is pulling some strings behind the scenes.”