Prince George's County voters, for the first time in four years, have an opportunity to make over the Board of Education. Six of the nine board seats are up for election this year, but only two incumbents are unopposed in the March 8 primary.

Thanks to the advent of "Super Tuesday," the multistate primaries that pushed up the date of the Maryland primary, voting-age Maryland students for the first time will be able to participate in the primary while they are still in high school. In Prince George's County, about 4,000 students are eligible to vote.

The two incumbents who have primary races -- in districts 6 and 9 -- each face two challengers. In districts 1, 3, 4 and 7, there is no primary. When only two candidates file in a district, they meet in the November general election.

The primary races in districts 6 and 9 have been quiet, as is tradition. And many of the issues dominating the race are the same as in previous races: busing, desegregation, drug use in school and school closings.

In District 6, incumbent Barbara F. Martin, 66, faces Brenda B. Hughes, 47, president of the Prince George's County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, and John R. Rosser III, 30, manager of a Capitol Heights Peoples Drug Store.

District 6, which has the most black residents, lies just to the east of Washington and includes Seat Pleasant and Largo.

The district has been the bank from which the school system has drawn many of the black students to desegregate other county schools.

"People should be aware of situations created by the massive closings of schools," said Rosser, referring to the school closings in the early 1980s. "I do not like busing. I'm a firm believer that parents in District 6 want their kids walking to their school.

"School officials are too worried too much about statistical data for Judge {Frank} Kauffman," he added. Kauffman is overseeing the desegregation agreement between the NAACP and the school system.

Rosser says the board lacks the activism he attributed to former members such as Bonnie Johns.

Martin is "a very nice person," Rosser said. "She's not all that aggressive. She has a style that is consensus building. Sometimes that works to the detriment of the community, especially if you're in the minority."

Hughes, a North Carolina native who also has worked within the system on advisory committees, concurred. She wants less agreement with the superintendent and more parental involvement.

"I think we need a stronger member to represent District 6," she said. "A lot of issues have never been raised, but we're not getting information and parents are not involved in {making} school policies."

Hughes says she has gathered busing statistics and maps to demonstrate that the system practices inequitable busing. She says that the system has not assessed its patterns of busing since it began busing students decades ago. School officials defend busing, saying the patterns are evaluated each year.

Much of the busing results from the system's desegregation program, which uses magnet programs to attract white students to schools in black neighborhoods.

Martin has spent her campaign reminding constituents of the school board's legal duty to desegregate.

Martin, a former teacher and a member of the NAACP, supports county school Superintendent John A. Murphy's efforts to desegregate schools through magnet programs.

"Dr. Murphy started all this and if he fails, I want him here to fall on his face in 1990," the final year of the system's four-year desegregation effort, she told an audience at the Glenarden Community Hall last week. "If he succeeds, I want him here to accept the praise."

Martin, a county native, defended busing, saying it should be accepted as necessary.

"Yes, we have children who are being bused . . . I was bused. It's not what happens on that bus, it's what happens at that school the bus carries them to that's important."

Each candidate has pledged to work to fight drug use in the schools and to improve the offerings at comprehensive schools, which don't receive special funds, as do magnet schools or Milliken schools, which have proven difficult to desegregate.

In District 9, incumbent Marcy C. Canavan of Accokeek faces two challengers: Joyce E. Charles, 40, a school volunteer who has served on the superintendent's advisory council; and Donald Lloyd, the principal of Eugene Burroughs Middle School in Accokeek.

Canavan, 35, is a computer consultant who was drawn into school politics by the closing of Accokeek Elementary School more than six years ago.

Charles, who lives in Fort Washington, says that because Canavan was appointed, not elected to her seat, she doesn't represent the south county district that includes Fort Washington, Clinton and the mostly rural areas along the Patuxent River on the Calvert County line.

And although Canavan writes a regular column for the South County Courant, a local paper, and publishes a regular newsletter distributed to the district's schools and PTAs, Charles says parents are uninformed and funds are distributed inequitably.

"People don't know about the political process . . . . There needs to be a policy for change, but I can't impact but so much as a parent," Charles said. "The only thing you can do at a local schools is there {at the school}.

"My opponent has done some things, but not for all children," she continued. "I pay taxes. Why can't I have magnet schools? Why can't I have computers?"

Canavan cites the increase in magnet schools from one 17 months ago to seven approved through 1989 as proof that she is working to provide opportunities for south county children.

Lloyd, 54, is running his first political race, and he has discovered some surprises.

"I realize how naive I am. You find out politics does play a role," he said.

Lloyd said he has few problems with the current board. He supports the superintendent. He says the magnet program is excellent. And he says comprehensive schools are experiencing their own trickle-down benefits from the money coming into the system from the state.

But he said every citizen has the right to run for office, so after 31 years in education, it's his turn. "I'd like to be a part of it, to add my expertise," he said.

Lloyd advocates an increase in educating teen-agers about pregnancy and drug use.

The sparring in the District 9 race has been mostly between Canavan and Charles.

On the drug issue, Charles says that Canavan and other board members have been insensitive to students. The board recently voted to amend the student Code of Conduct to require that students be suspended for a first offense of drug possession and that a parent or guardian accompany the student through drug counseling. If the counseling is not done, the student is expelled. Charles advocates not suspending students for a first offense of drug possession.

"I don't think there is sensitivity," Charles said. " . . . The drug war has to be a community activity."

But Canavan says the school system cannot afford to be lenient on students who sell or abuse drugs.

"Everyone's yelling for drug education. The school system has been doing that for 20 years," she said. "There is no excuse for kids to bring drugs to school. We're not in the business of running society. We're in the business of running schools. We have an obligation to kids who don't use drugs."