State schools superintendent files for bankruptcy

ATLANTA -- The state's chief academic official has filed for bankruptcy in the latest sign of the widening impact of the financial and housing crisis roiling the nation's economy.

"On November 17, after consultation with numerous attorneys, my husband and I made the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy due to losses incurred by his home building business," State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox said in a statement issued Friday by her office. "The collapse of the home building market has been well documented and small builders, like my husband, have been hit especially hard. This was a gut-wrenching decision, but in the end, we felt that we had no choice."

Mrs. Cox issued the statement, and a similar e-mail to superintendents, following a story that appeared in the online version of The Newnan Times-Herald. According to the article, Mrs. Cox and her husband, John, filed Monday for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with $3.5 million in liabilities and just shy of $650,000 in assets.

Mrs. Cox said she didn't intend to step down or allow the personal crisis to interfere with her public duties.

"It also does not, in any way, deter my commitment to the citizens of Georgia that we will provide the best education possible to this state's 1.7 million public school students. ... We know that thousands of families throughout Georgia are struggling in these difficult economic times. But we all must remain committed to the future of Georgia -- our children," Mrs. Cox said.

Mrs. Cox, currently in her second term, was elected in 2002 and won re-election four years later.

Brandon Larrabee can be reached at brandon.larrabee@morris.com or (678) 977-3709.

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