NEWS BRIEFS

Schools open under local administration

THE NEW SCHOOL year began on September 2 with the administration of about 9,000 former state institutions being taken over by local governments, and great uncertainty over whether the state will eventually cover their 730 million crowns ($16.2 million) in debt.

Only 13 per cent of local governments have signed an agreement accepting control of the schools, many of which face having utility supplies cut off if overdue bills are not paid.

Kysucké Nové Mesto district in north-west Slovakia reported 29 schools that had been cut off from electricity supplies because of unpaid debt. Schools in Nitra region in central Slovakia went two weeks this summer without water, and many have had their phone lines disconnected because of unpaid bills to monopoly operator Slovak Telecom.

Control of the schools was passed down to local governments in line with the decentralisation of Slovak public administration.

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