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State preparing to take over failing schools but does the program have enough money?

PETERSBURG, VA (WTVR) — Louisiana does it, New Jersey does it, and beginning in 2014 the Commonwealth of Virginia can do it too — take over failing schools.

Under a bill passed by the General Assembly this year, failing schools that fail accreditation or receive warnings for three consecutive years are eligible for state takeover by the newly created Opportunity Educational Institution.

“I am very much disappointed,” Kenneth M. Pritchett,” Chairman of the Petersburg School Board said.

Pritchett is against the move for several reasons. Presently, two schools are eligible for state takeover in Petersburg – A.P. Hill Elementary and Peabody Middle School.

“It was a bill that was passed without community input without parent input,” Pritchett said.

“The state constitution says that your local school board governs the schools,” Pritchett added.

But this week opponents of the new state power became even more upset when the General Assembly voted against giving the group the recommended 700,000 dollars that Governor Bob McDonnell had requested.

That means, the organization is left with just $150,000 dollars to operate.

“150,000 dollars will not get you teachers it will not get you resources,” Pritchett said.

Governor Bob McDonnell’s office told CBS 6 that the governor was “extremely disappointed” with the General Assembly’s decision but added that he will still sign the bill into law soon.

Opportunity Educational Institution can begin taking over failing schools in the 2014-2015 school year.

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