School disrepair reaches critical

OF SLOVAKIA'S 3,500 elementary and secondary schools, 3,000 are considered to be in poor physical condition, forcing school administrators to seek sponsors and rent facilities to raise funds for repair.

Many schools have also been handed over from central state to municipal control this fall with heavy debts for utility services. As a result, 51 schools in the Nitra region have had phone lines cut off by the Slovak Telecom monopoly, while another 37 have had outgoing calls blocked.

Schools around the country have also had natural gas supplies cut off, and local governments are trying desperately to pay down debts and restore delivery before the winter arrives.

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