Students at poor-performing public schools could have the possibility of switching to higher-performing schools, under a bill nearing final legislative passage.

State Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said his Senate-backed Senate Bill 61 would offer choice to public school students, like the state has offered through the taxpayer-funded voucher program.

“Please give the parents across this state a choice,” he told the House Education Committee.

The proposal would start with the upcoming 2014-15 school year, in school districts that agree to participate.

Parents would be able to enroll their children in the public school they choose if the student was assigned to a school that was graded with a D or F in the state’s school grading system. The school that a parent chooses must be rated at an A, B or C level — and it must have the space to take the student.

The House committee advanced the measure without objection, sending it to the full House for debate.