Expert Takes Hard Look at School-Finance Numbers

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AUSTIN, Texas -- School Finance expert Lynn Moak says academic standards that continue to get tougher have more significantly reshaped Texas schools than reductions in funding.

Moak is testifying at a sweeping trial challenging as unconstitutional the way the state funds schools.

He was asked Monday which was more-impactful: legislative changes resulting in less funding, or more-strict academic standards. Moak replied that "the changes on the academic side are the most significant."

More than 600 school districts sued after the Texas Legislature voted in 2011 to cut $5.4 billion from public school funding and grant programs.

They argue that the cuts have been especially hard because they came as the state imposed a new, tougher standardized testing regime.

The state counters that some school financing flaws don't mean the whole system is broken.