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Published in Print: May 5, 1999, as State Journal

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Hull stepping down

Vermont Commissioner of Education Marc E. Hull handed in his resignation last week, citing health problems.

Mr. Hull, 56, plans to step down Sept. 15 because of nagging inner-ear problems, which may require surgery. He has held the post since 1996.

The eighth-generation Vermonter is widely respected for his work on the state's student-assessment system. He was also a leading defender of Act 60, the fiercely debated 1997 law that restructured Vermont's school finance system.

Marc E. Hull

Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat, praised Mr. Hull last week and said he hopes to appoint another Vermont native who understands the distinctive issues facing the Green Mountain State. Mr. Hull worked at nearly every level of the education system--including teacher, administrator, and superintendent--before taking the state's top education job.

Pension problems

Republican legislators in Indiana aren't pleased with the way Gov. Frank L. O'Bannon, a Democrat, has handled an investigation of the alleged mismanagement of funds by the state Teachers' Retirement Fund.

Mary Petterson, the director of the fund, informed the governor's office last month that state budget appropriations had come up $59.1 million short of the amount needed to pay the pensions of retired teachers in fiscal 1997. Yet, the retired teachers were still paid. So the question arose: Where did the money come from?

Mr. O'Bannon and legislators originally believed the retirement fund had tapped the state's pension-stabilization fund--money set aside for future teacher retirements that can't be touched until 2006. But an internal investigation launched by the governor concluded that the money came from interest earnings from that fund.

Several GOP legislators distrust the findings and suggest that Gov. O'Bannon is covering up what actually happened. The governor denies the accusations.

Mr. O'Bannon has, however, asked for the immediate resignation of Ms. Petterson and demoted Chuck Mayfield, the assistant director of the State Budget Agency.

--Joetta L. Sack & Karen L. Abercrombie

Vol. 18, Issue 34, Page 18

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