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A divided Fairfax County, Va., school board has voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Robert R. Spillane for two years.

The board, which this summer contemplated firing Mr. Spillane, voted 7 to 4 last week to rehire the controversial superintendent at his current salary of $116,500 a year when his contract expires in June.

Mr. Spillane has headed the school system, one of the nation's largest, since 1985. He is best known for crafting a nationally watched teacher merit-pay program that has drawn the fire of teacher groups in the county. That program was suspended this year due to budget difficulties.

Mr. Spillane, 57, previously headed the Boston school system.

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