The Fairfax County School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to two candidates, heads of school systems in suburban Louisville and Boston, and a decision is expected any day, sources close to the search committee said yesterday.

The candidates are Dr. Donald W. Ingwerson, 51, superintendent of the Jefferson County, Ky., school system, and Robert R. Spillane, 50, superintendent in Boston, the sources said.

The hiring of a new head for the Fairfax system, with 124,000 students the largest in the Washington area and 10th-largest in the country, is being watched closely by county and area officials because of the controversy over the salary once offered the man he will replace.

The outgoing superintendent, William J. Burkholder, announced last year he would retire amid a furor over a proposed $157,000-a-year pay package.

Some county officials have not wanted to pay a new superintendent more than the approximate $108,000 total pay package given Fairfax County Executive J. Hamilton Lambert, the highest-paid Fairfax official. They argue that a higher salary would have a ripple effect, creating pressure to raise the salaries of other county administrators.

In Jefferson County, Ky., Ingwerson has a new contract calling for him to make $86,000, including benefits, starting July 1. Spillane makes $70,000 a year and has free use of a car as head of Boston's schools.

The Fairfax board must select a new school chief by March 1, according to state law, and has planned since the start of the search to make an announcement at its meeting Feb. 28.

Ingwerson could not be reached for comment last night. Rande Swann, information officer of the Jefferson County school system, said Ingwerson had applied for the Fairfax superintendency in 1979, but that although he has maintained informal contact with some Fairfax School Board members, he has not reapplied.

Swann said Ingwerson is "quite flattered that they have considered him, but he is not aware of being a finalist."

Three Fairfax board members went to Boston earlier this week as part of the search for a new superintendent and interviewed officials there about Spillane.

Ingwerson, who has been in suburban Louisville for 3 1/2 years, has gained a reputation for involving the business community in the schools and for being an innovative educator and implementing court-ordered busing over loud community protest.

He took his present job in 1981, after jobs with school systems in Colorado and California. The Jefferson County system now has 91,000 students and a budget of $235 million, compared to the $531.2 million operating budget Fairfax is considering for the next fiscal year.

Spillane has headed the Boston schools since l981. That system has an enrollment of 57,100 and a budget of about $300 million.

Spillane is credited with raising academic standards and improving discipline. He took charge of the Boston schools following a tumultous half-decade of court-ordered busing to achieve desegregation. CAPTION: Picture/one: Donald Ingwerson . . . Jefferson, Ky., school chief. ; Picture /two: Robert Spillane . . . heads Boston schools. sFairfax Board Weighs 2 Choices For School Chief By Barbara Carton Washington Post Staff Writer

The Fairfax County School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to two candidates, heads of school systems in suburban Louisville and Boston, and a decision is expected any day, sources close to the search committee said yesterday.

The candidates are Dr. Donald W. Ingwerson, 51, superintendent of the Jefferson County, Ky., school system, and Robert R. Spillane, 50, superintendent in Boston, the sources said.

The hiring of a new head for the Fairfax system, with 124,000 students the largest in the Washington area and 10th-largest in the country, is being watched closely by county and area officials because of the controversy over the salary once offered the man he will replace.

The outgoing superintendent, William J. Burkholder, announced last year he would retire amid a furor over a proposed $157,000-a-year pay package.

Some county officials have not wanted to pay a new superintendent more than the approximate $108,000 total pay package given Fairfax County Executive J. Hamilton Lambert, the highest-paid Fairfax official. They argue that a higher salary would have a ripple effect, creating pressure to raise the salaries of other county administrators.

In Jefferson County, Ky., Ingwerson has a new contract calling for him to make $86,000, including benefits, starting July 1. Spillane makes $70,000 a year and has free use of a car as head of Boston's schools.

The Fairfax board must select a new school chief by March 1, according to state law, and has planned since the start of the search to make an announcement at its meeting Feb. 28.

Ingwerson could not be reached for comment last night. Rande Swann, information officer of the Jefferson County school system, said Ingwerson had applied for the Fairfax superintendency in 1979, but that although he has maintained informal contact with some Fairfax School Board members, he has not reapplied.

Swann said Ingwerson is "quite flattered that they have considered him, but he is not aware of being a finalist."

Three Fairfax board members went to Boston earlier this week as part of the search for a new superintendent and interviewed officials there about Spillane.

Ingwerson, who has been in suburban Louisville for 3 1/2 years, has gained a reputation for involving the business community in the schools and for being an innovative educator and implementing court-ordered busing over loud community protest.

He took his present job in 1981, after jobs with school systems in Colorado and California. The Jefferson County system now has 91,000 students and a budget of $235 million, compared to the $531.2 million operating budget Fairfax is considering for the next fiscal year.

Spillane has headed the Boston schools since l981. That system has an enrollment of 57,100 and a budget of about $300 million.

Spillane is credited with raising academic standards and improving discipline. He took charge of the Boston schools following a tumultous half-decade of court-ordered busing to achieve desegregation.Pictures 1 and 2, Donald Ingwerson . . . Jefferson, Ky., school chief; Robert Spillane . . . heads Boston schools