AUSTIN, Texas -- A school finance expert says Texas needs to spend at least an additional $8 billion annually to ensure its students meet tough new academic standards.
Lynn Moak testified Monday at a sweeping trial challenging as unconstitutional the way the state funds schools.
He said nearly half of Texas 9th graders are now not on track to graduate because they failed at least one of Texas' new, more-rigorous standardized tests.
Over 600 school districts sued after the Texas Legislature in 2011 cut $5.4 billion from public school funding and grant programs.
Moak said ensuring students meet tougher standards means restoring those cuts, roughly $2.7 billion annually. He also called for spending about $6 billion more per year.
The state argues some school financing flaws don't mean the whole system is broken.