AUSTIN (AP) — An expert witness says the poorest school districts in Texas tax at a rate that is 7.8 percent higher than the state’s wealthiest districts but receive 35 percent less in per student funding.

Equity Center Executive Director Wayne Pierce testified Thursday on behalf of 650 poor school districts who claim that the property tax system that Texas uses to pay for public schools is unfair.

Pierce said that the bottom 15 percent of schools districts collected an average of $5,581 per student per year, compared to $7,535 per student for the wealthiest districts. He said the problem is not that wealthy districts have too much money, but that poor districts have too little.

Attorneys for the state have argued that the school funding system is not broken.

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