AUSTIN (AP) — The Legislature’s $5-plus billion in 2011 cuts to public education mean that Texas’ classroom funding still lags behind its pre-Great Recession levels due to booming enrollment growth — with low-income students hit hardest.

That’s the conclusion of a report released Thursday by University of Texas professor Michael Marder and Chandra Villanueva, of the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities.

They found that, despite increased funding more recently, bringing 2016’s public education funding levels up to 2008’s would require an extra $3.2 billion.

That meant middle schools spent $268 per-student less and high schools spent $428 less.

Also since 2008, elementary schools with the highest percentage of low-income students cut spending on programs for youngsters falling behind their peers by 21 percent. Those schools’ bilingual education program funding fell 40 percent.

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