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In the wake of the closing of a private school that reportedly had substandard academic and living conditions, Vermont education officials have said that the state needs more stringent rules for private schools.

Commissioner of Education Richard P. Mills has directed his department to come up with proposals by Dec. 15 for toughening laws governing private schools. He also said he would urge the state board of education to revise regulations governing state approval of such institutions.

Mr. Mills announced the actions in a statement accompanying a department report on why the Vershire School had received departmental approval despite problems that had been noticed since the early 1970's.

The boarding school's owner, Richard Wright, closed it in October after the department released a report alleging that the school displayed such problems as a substandard curriculum, widespread drug abuse, and unsafe living conditions.

Mr. Wright has denied most of the allegations, however.

The more recent report noted that the school had a history of certification problems since it opened in 1971, but had received conditional approval several times. The report criticized the department's inaction last year when a former teacher complained that school officials acquiesced in student drug problems, sexual relations between teachers and students, and falsification of student records.

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