VOTERS IN Montgomery and Prince George's Counties who care about how some huge portions of their local government budgets are spent should know that there will be school board contests on the ballots on Nov. 6, and some good candidates are seeking support.
In Montgomery, in the at-large race, James E. Cronin, a member since 1982, is opposed by Alan Cheung, who has run a strong campaign against what he sees as complacency among those running the schools. But Mr. Cronin is an educator as well as a knowledgeable school board member whose experience has proved valuable over the years.
In the District 1 race between William Beane and Carol P. Fanconi, both candidates have PTA experience. Mr. Beane's balance of upcounty and countywide concerns could prove valuable in dealing with the board membership as a whole.
In District 3, Ana Sol Gutierrez, who is running against Vicki P. Rafel, has a strong background in business, education, Hispanic affairs and county activities that gives her an edge.
In District 5, the contest between Frances Brenneman and Donald R. Buckner has been spirited. Mr. Buckner emphasizes his 25 years' experience as a teacher and principal. Mrs. Brenneman, too, has solid education experience as an adjunct professor, teacher, PTA president and currently as a parent of elementary school-age children. Her close involvement with the system, her attention to elementary education needs, her proposals to attract help from the private sector and her countywide, door-to-door campaign make Mrs. Brenneman a solid voice for district as well as countywide concerns.
In Prince George's, Suzanne M. Plogman is running unopposed for the District 2 seat. There is a contest in District 5 between Kenneth E. Johnson and Verna Teasdale. Both candidates have worked to ease racial tensions in the schools, but Mr. Johnson's vigorous, reasoned civic leadership in recent years -- notably as a mediating force in the retention of the superintendent -- makes him an exceptional choice.
In the District 8 contest between James M. Davis and Frederick Hutchinson, the local involvement of Mr. Hutchinson -- as a knowledgeable advocate of magnet schools as well as of improvements in non-magnet schools -- and his activities on behalf of minority interests throughout the county make him the stronger choice.