ON A SUNDAY STROLL through just about any neighborhood of the city yesterday, you could spot almost as many campaign posters as blossoms on the trees-though the blossoms may be easier to identify. Dozens of candidates are runing for the District Council and the School Board, but two names stand out and deserve citywide voter support tomorrow: John Ray for council and Eugene Kinlow for school board.

The council election is more than a matter of how best to shape the local legislature. The question in this contest is whether the at-large seat will continue to be held by a steady and industrious councilman - which Mr. Ray has proved to be in only a brief time in office. His campaign has properly emphasized the importance of electing someone who will work with the mayor and council - as well as someone who is independent and does his legislative homework.

Voters shouldn't limit themselves to this council contest. The school board election is enormously important this time. Washington's school board desperately needs help. If citizens care about preserving and improving the District's struggling public-school system, a strong showing at the polls for Mr. Kinlow is essential.Not only has he expressed a refreshing concern for the students, who all too often are ignored or shortchanged in the intramural squabbling, but he has also spoken persuasively on the need to heal the wounds of the teachers' strike and to work with Superintendent Vincent Reed and the teachers to improve what goes on in the classroom.

So everyone with a vote-not merely parents or others directly connected with the schools-has a stake in this contest. Mr. Kinlow is eager to see to it that students meet citywide performance standards before they are promoted and that they are prepared for jobs when they graduate. This fundamental approach makes sense, but it requires sensitivity-which has been in pitifully short supply on the board. That is why Eugene Kinlow is the clearly preferable candidate and why you should vote in this election.