State to call 1st witness in school finance trial

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The state of Texas is set to call its first witness in the sweeping school finance trial.

Brookings Institution education expert Grover Whitehurst is to testify Thursday.

The Texas Legislature voted last year to cut $5.4 billion in funding to schools despite rising enrollment and new, tougher academic standards.

School districts responsible for educating three-fourths of the state's more than 5 million students have sued, contending the way the state funds education is inadequate and unfair.

The Texas attorney general's office argues that funding is adequate and districts don't always spend their money wisely. It will call a series of witnesses to make that case.

State District Judge John Dietz will decide the case in Austin. He's heard about six weeks of testimony from witnesses called by the districts.

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