RICHMOND (AP) -- A Senate panel has endorsed four bills in Gov. Bob McDonnell's education package.

The Education and Health Committee advanced the measures with little debate Thursday.

One of the bills would provide up to $15 million in grants to local school divisions to give performance-based bonuses to teachers. Representatives of local school boards and the state's teachers spoke in favor of the bill, which was approved on a voice vote and sent to the Finance Committee.

Other measures backed by the committee would give schools more flexibility in seeking relief from state regulations and streamline procedures for school consolidations and establishment of charter schools.

The panel has not yet acted on a more controversial McDonnell-backed bill that would overhaul the teacher evaluation and grievance process.

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