AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas official is being denounced for calling special education students "slow learners" and questioning whether it's worth spending public money on their education.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Scott Brister is the chairman of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, which is tasked with recommending to lawmakers by the end of the year how to improve the state's struggling school finance system.

Commissioners discussed Tuesday whether districts should have discretion in how they spend special education dollars when Brister asked if the state should "spend that on the brightest kids or the slowest learners."

Special education advocates have called the comments uninformed and offensive.

Brister says his comments were taken out of context and says "of course" he believes state funding should be spent on special education students.

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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