TWO OF the four members leaving the D.C. school board at the end of this year -- at-large representative Eugene Kinlow and Ward 6's Bob Boyd -- will be sorely missed by those with a serious interest in the city's children. (The third, the meddlesome R. Calvin Lockridge of Ward 8, cannot depart too soon. Linda Cropp is also leaving the board but not elected office; she is moving to the D.C. Council.)

Mr. Kinlow, who has served on the board since 1979, is widely perceived as the board's "conscience" and as one of its hardest-working members. It was he who warned early this year that the school system had become stagnant and that deep problems remained. He said that a growing interest in the city's schools among businesses and civic groups would be wasted unless those inside the system worked to eliminate the mismanagement. Early on, he realized that former superintendent Andrew Jenkins had to go, a conclusion most of his colleagues reached only later.

Mr. Boyd took office in 1983. In those parts of Ward 6 that are south of the Anacostia River, he was initially seen as one who cared only for the Capitol Hill area. But over the next seven years, he worked hard to dispel that notion, earning the strong support of black voters. He has been one of the few board members who works directly with students. He served as a chaperone for Eastern High School's choir during its award-winning trip to Europe and even paid for the travel expenses of several students.

Mr. Boyd, who is retiring, favors a special election to fill his seat. He feels that Ward 6 voters should be allowed to decide who will serve them on the board. We agree with that sentiment, with a reservation. It would be preferable if he remained on the board. He has served the city well.