A state Senate-passed bill aimed at increasing the number of foreign language immersion programs narrowly passed the House Education Committee on Wednesday.

The vote was 7-6, and the bill next faces action in the full House.

Under the proposal, local school boards would be required to offer the programs in French or other languages if several conditions are met, including the availability of enough foreign language teachers with required credentials.

State Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte and sponsor of Senate Bill 205, said the key reason for the bill is the fact that test scores are clearly higher for students in foreign language immersion classes.

“It just works,” LaFleur said. “We don’t have to change anything but offer them a different curriculum.”

Opponents of the bill, including officials of the Louisiana School Boards Association, said while the programs are effective costs are a concern.