RICHMOND (AP) -- Legislation allowing the state to take over chronically failing schools has cleared its last General Assembly hurdle.

The House of Delegates voted 64-34 Wednesday to pass the bill, which is a major component of Gov. Bob McDonnell's education reform agenda. The Senate previously passed the bill. It now goes to the Republican governor for his signature.

The bill establishes a state board to that would take control of failing schools with the goal of helping them earn accreditation

Supporters of the bill say the state has allowed schools to fail for too long. Opponents call it a state intrusion into local governance.

Six schools currently meet the criteria for state takeover, but no schools will be transferred until after the 2013-2014 school year.

Gov. McDonnell praised lawmakers working across the aisle to pass the legislation.

'Every child in Virginia deserves access to a quality education and the lifelong opportunities that education will give them,' he said. 'With today's vote in the House, Virginia sends a message that the status quo is not acceptable in chronically failing schools. We have laid out a clear path to turn around those schools and provide the students who attend them with the world-class educational opportunities they deserve.' AP-WF-02-20-13 2109GMT

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