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University Prep takes applications for local board

University Prep, which opened in Midtown this school year, is taking steps toward establishing the local advisory board described in its contract.

The charter school has created an application posted here on its website under "Additional Documents." Applicants who want to be considered at an Oct. 30 meeting of the school's governing board - which is supposed to have oversight from afar - should send in applications by Oct. 25.

Applicants with questions can call 727-286-3185.

The charter school promised Pinellas County Schools to hold the first meeting of its local board by Nov. 11, after PCS was alerted by the Times that the board had never been created.

As described in University Prep's application, the local board was supposed to be established before the school year started so it could advise on the hiring of the school's principal, discipline issues, and various school policies.

In its absence, Cheri Shannon - the school's founder and head of its nonprofit organization - unexpectedly became the principal.

At least 77 children have withdrawn from University Prep, and Shannon said behavioral problems are at the root. The charter drew students from some of Pinellas's most struggling, poverty-addled schools. However, the students who are leaving University Prep are largely choosing to return to these neighborhood schools.