State education officials are warning schools around North Carolina they need to make academic improvements or risk being taken over by the state. 

69 schools qualify for inclusion in the Innovative School District program, which allows the state to gain control over low-performing schools and turn them over to charter school management companies.

The rankings are based on low test scores. The News and Observer reports that Forsyth County had the most schools of any district on the list at eight. Guilford County has six.

The Innovative School District was created by Republican lawmakers, who say it can help raise student achievement. Opponents say the program privatizes public education for financial gain.

The 69 schools on the list released Thursday make up the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in North Carolina. They have four years to show gains in test scores. 

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