The state would have broad authority to intervene at struggling schools under legislation approved by the Georgia House.
Lawmakers approved the plan Wednesday, sending the bill to the Senate.
The struggling-schools bill is an alternative to Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed constitutional amendment seeking to let the state take over schools dubbed "chronically failing." Voters rejected it in November.
Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, sponsored this year's bill creating a "chief turnaround officer" to work with struggling schools and says he wanted to create a partnership rather than a takeover. Schools would sign contracts with the state, agreeing on a strategy to improve student performance.
In a release sent to FOX News on Wednesday, Gov. Deal stated, "I applaud the members of the House of Representatives who demonstrated their commitment to improving education outcomes for Georgia’s most vulnerable students. Rep. Kevin Tanner worked tirelessly with House and Senate leadership, education committee chairmen and other stakeholders to produce this critical and bipartisan legislation. I’m grateful for their cooperation and collaboration on behalf of Georgia students. This is a critical step forward for improving Georgia’s education system for current and future students, families and communities. I look forward to its passage in the Senate and signing HB 338 into law."
The bill still lays out consequences for schools that show no improvement within two years of state intervention or that refuse a "turnaround" contract with the state.