When the new District school board convenes next month, there will be only one new face on the dais: guidance counselor Angie Corley replacing veteran member Bettie Benjamin (Ward 5).

But there are broader aftershocks from Tuesday's returns in six board races and, on the morning after, they were already being felt at school system headquarters and in the District Building.

At least two members -- Linda Cropp (Ward 4) and Nate Bush (Ward 7) -- significantly strengthened their places on the board, the traditional spawning pool of many of the city's top politicians. Both Cropp and Bush said yesterday they are interested in the board presidency; the board picks a new leader at the end of the year.

Cropp, who defeated her opponent with 85 percent of the vote in her ward at the city's northern corner, is also considered a potential opponent of D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), whose term expires next year. Cropp said she is not seeking higher office at this time.

Bush, who won a third term representing Ward 7 on the city's eastern edge, cracked open a window on his political future. Speculation about a council race against H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) next year was "inappropriate," he said. But asked if he therefore expects to serve out his new term, Bush said, "I did not say that."

Bush was especially pleased with his 64 percent tally in a three-way race because Crawford and the Washington Teachers' Union had supported Herbert Boyd, a school social worker.

"It's very clear that the people have said to Mr. Crawford that he cannot tell them what to do," Bush said. "The people see progress toward a bright future in our schools."

Bush said he was especially grateful to Ward 7 voters for "their fairness, given my very controversial position in favor of the bottle bill," which lost by more than 3-to-1 in the ward.

Crawford said he has no opinion on a possible challenge by Bush. "It's a democratic society," he said. "One wouldn't expect him to stay in his position forever, just as one wouldn't expect me to stay in my position forever. There are those who think I might run for mayor."

Another council member who played a highly public role in the school elections was Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5), one of two freshmen on the council. Thomas campaigned hard for Corley, a longtime friend and key supporter of Thomas' last year.

"My friend helped me and you always help your friends," Thomas said. He scoffed at the idea that he was developing a political machine.

But school board President R. David Hall (Ward 2) said it was Thomas' organization that gave Corley the edge over Benjamin's two other challengers.

"Harry goes out there and works hard getting trash moved and getting jobs for people," Hall said. "And people know about that kind of activity."

Corley, who edged Benjamin with 33 percent to the incumbent's 32 percent, was reluctant to celebrate yesterday. "I respect Mrs. Benjamin's challenge of the count," she said.

Benjamin did not return calls yesterday. On Wednesday morning, shortly after midnight, her aide said she planned to challenge Corley's 140-vote victory. The elections board will count absentee ballots on Nov. 13; 126 such ballots have already been received and more are expected this week.

Corley is a 63-year-old guidance counselor at McKinley High School. She has worked in D.C. schools for 30 years and is active in the Brookland community. Hall said Corley will have to quit her school job because of a city law that prevents workers from drawing salaries from two city positions. Corley will be paid $24,211 as a board member.

Corley said voters embraced her argument that city schools have deep problems which Benjamin and some other incumbents gloss over.

Benjamin's departure would leave Calvin Lockridge (Ward 8) as the last remaining member from the board's acrimonious era in the 1970s. Benjamin was the last member who had supported Superintendent Barbara Sizemore, who was fired in a bitter battle in 1975.

"Times are changing and the board moves on," Hall said.

Over her last two terms, Benjamin, a lawyer and onetime PTA official, was consistently criticized by opposing candidates, ward activists and other board members for her inaccessibility and infrequent visits to Ward 5 schools.

In the only citywide race, Eugene Kinlow (At Large) won a third term, drawing 50 percent of the vote against two opponents.

But challenger Paul Burke, a social science researcher, beat Kinlow in 33 of the city's 140 precincts. Burke won by a few votes in predominantly white Ward 3 in upper Northwest and came close in Wards 2 (from Georgetown to Southwest Washington) and 6 (from Capitol Hill to parts of Anacostia).

Those returns led some board members to suggest that a future Burke campaign might prove successful.

While precinct returns showed Burke did especially well in areas with large white populations, Hall said the vote was not necessarily racial.

"Very often, results like this mean that people in certain wards want someone who is going to do something for their ward," he said. "It could simply reflect where the candidates campaigned."

In other races, Bob Boyd handily won a second term in Ward 6 and Wilma Harvey won her first full term.