After two generally quiet years, the Washington school board faces the possibility of major changes this fall as seven of its 11 seats are up for grabs in the Nov.8 election.
Voters throughout the city will fill two at-large seats, including one being vacated by board president Therman Evans.
In addition board representatives are being chosen in five of the city's eight wards - for four year terms in Wards 2, 3, and 8, and for two-year terms (because of resignations) in Wards 4 and 7. Besides Evans two other influential board members, Julius Hobson Jr. (Ward 8) and William Treanor (Ward 2) are not running again.
Board vice president Carol Schwartz is seeking a second term in Ward 3, while at-large member Barbara Lett Simmons is also trying for reelection. Simmons, who heads an educational consulting firm, was a strong supporter of school superintendent Barbara Sizemore, who was ousted two years ago. She generally has gone along with proposals by Sizemore's successor Vincent Reed, although she criticizes Reed privately.
The other three candidates for the two at-large seats are Frank Shaffer-Corona, a freelance writer active in Latino affairs; Afrodita Constantinidis, a representative of the Socialist Workers Party, and Stuart Rosenblatt, representing the U.S. Labor Party. In Ward 2, Alverta Munlyn, an educational specialist for an anti-proverty agency, faces Alaire Riefell, the president of the Ross School PTA and a lawyer. The seat is being vacated by Treanor.
In Ward 3 Schwartz, a former teacher, is being challenged by Kenneth T. Lange, a lawyer, and Gwendoline Graham Reiss, a real estate agent who ran unsuccessfully for the same seat four years ago.
In Ward 4 Victoria T.Street, a retired teacher appointed to fill the vacancy created when Hilda Mason was elected to the City Council, will be trying to win in her own right. Her two opponents are Gilbert A. Diggs, a former regional superintendent who failed last spring to get permanent status in his job, and Philip E. Pannell, a community outreach worker for the Howard University Center for sickle cell disease. Pannell is the president of the D.C. Young Democrats and ran unsuccessfully for the board in 1975.
Minnie S. Woodson, another retired teacher appointed to the board last January, is running for the Ward 7 seat against Rufus (Catfish) Mayfield, a former director of Pride, Inc., and Gloria J. Anson, a social worker for Anocostians Concerned for Senior Citizens.
The candidates in Ward 8, which is now represented by Hobson, are R. Calvin Lockridge, a member of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, Genevieve B. Artis, a social services worker at Anacostia Pre-School, and Wilbert Williams, who ran unsuccessfully in 1971 for the D.C. delegate seat in Congress.
Besides facing each other, the 18 candidates must also contend with considerable voter apathy which in most school board elections recently has kept the turnout down to 10 to 20 per cent of registered voters.
Nearly all the candidates have high praise for superintendent Reed, who has dominated school policies since he took office two years ago. One outgoing board member remarked, however, that, "There may be so many new people after this election that you can't be sure what will happen. How will they get along with Vince Reed? Who knows? It may be a new ballgame."
Board members receive no salary, but can get up to $4,000 a year in expenses, based on the time they spend on board business.