Governor Bob Wise has signed the order for the state to seize the property of the McDowell County school system.

The order allows the state to secure $41 million dollars in federal funding to move ahead with school consolidation, including the use of about $12 million in state School Board Authority money.

The McDowell County Board of Education voted 3-2 to reject the money, opposing school consolidation.

Governor Wise, who just took an anti-consolidation stance, says the issue is safety. He says McDowell County schools have had 264 fire violations from the state Fire Marshall's office. The governor says it's unacceptable to keep children in such unsafe conditions.

The state had already taken over the operation of the McDowell School system because of their failing standards, but 44 other counties have now failed to meet the No Child Left Behind criteria issued by the Bush administration.