ATLANTA (AP) - State schools Superintendent Kathy Cox says Georgia's budget crisis could jeopardize the gains students have been making in recent years.

Even as she touted the state's progress in student achievement on Wednesday, Cox was frustrated as she outlined the cuts to the remainder of the fiscal year 2010 budget, which total more than $17.4 million. The four percent reduction in the department's budget was the least severe of the cuts among state agencies in the amended budget.

Cox has asked lawmakers to give school systems more flexibility in spending and class size to help mitigate the shortfalls, which could force local districts to increase property taxes.

They, in turn, quizzed Cox about possible options to further trim the budget, including shortening school weeks and standardizing school calendars.


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