I have some good news about my progress on obtaining credit for the time I worked before joining the pension system.
Luckily it didn't take the pension people five months to figure out what my buyback costs would be as they predicted it may.
Not so luckily is that I forgot I would have to pay interest on the amount owed. That, plus finding out there's an outstanding balance of $67 that my employer was supposed to pay on my behalf but didn't brings my new total owed to $824 (not $660 like I predicted). I guess that's only fair considering that money had I paid it initially would be sitting in the state's pension fund gaining interest this whole time. I'm just glad I got off my butt and started this process now, not ten years from now when the interest would have been astronomical. $800 now means 8 less months of working before I can retire!
It turns out I was right that I could pay this money with pretax dollars (yay!). So I signed up to begin payroll deductions of $45 which will pay the balance off in 17 pay periods, just in time for my new vesting date of September 14, 2011 - only 290 days to go!