VENTURA : Schools Chief to Delay Retirement

Putting off his retirement for one year, the superintendent of Ventura's public schools has agreed to continue heading the district until the end of 1996.

Joseph Spirito will remain superintendent until Dec. 31, 1996, instead of the previously agreed retirement date of Jan. 1, 1996, under a contract approved Tuesday by the Ventura Unified School District board.

When he was promoted from assistant superintendent to take over the district in the fall of 1992, replacing former schools chief Cesare Caldarelli, Spirito promised only to serve three years before he retired.

But board members and the superintendent agreed recently to extend Spirito's term by 12 months.

"Everything is going well," board member Diane Harriman said Tuesday. "We like him. We'd like to extend it even further than that. But that's all he wants to work."

Working the additional year will increase Spirito's retirement benefits slightly, he said. But he said the financial incentive was only part of the reason for his agreeing to the extension.

Spirito said he also wants to be in the district to shepherd a few programs that he has begun, including the values-education curriculum.

He said he will definitely not stay with the district beyond 1996.

"That's it," he said.

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