Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says Texas teachers pull "a very fair salary" as a judge begins weighing whether the state is adequately funding public schools.

Dewhurst said Monday night at a Republican debate that Texas schoolteachers do well compared to other parts of the country when the state's low cost of living is factored in the equation.

The debate came on the eve of a school finance trial that's resuming Tuesday in Austin.

State Sen. Dan Patrick says Dewhurst's comments were "off the mark" and called for better pay for math and science teachers, who are needed in Texas.

The primary is March 4.

Education is already shaping up to be the dominant issue in the governor's race between Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott and Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis.