As the parent of a child who attends Pyle Middle School and will attend Whitman High School next fall, I need to ask if the research for the article "In Maryland, a Tale of Two Schools; Amenities, Staff Define the Gap Between Rich and Poor Districts" {front page, Jan. 14} included any unannounced visits to these schools?

Did the reporter see the brown stained ceiling tiles or experience the odor emanating from large plastic trash cans strategically placed in the front lobby outside Whitman's auditorium to collect waste water leaking from a second-floor restroom?

Did the reporter know that some Pyle teachers must share classrooms or that the size of my child's math class far exceeds the suggested class size?

Has the reporter had the luxury of attending a theatrical performance in a bare-bones converted classroom with a makeshift stage because Pyle lacks an auditorium?

Is the reporter aware of the problems of a parent who has had to race from work to pay a taxi driver because her child had an after-school activity and the county's school system cannot supply late buses?

Did the reporter speak with parents who have walked into a restroom at Pyle and tried to wash their hands and found that the faucets don't work, and also learned that that was not significant because, according to their children, the school restrooms are to be generally avoided anyhow because of the low standard of upkeep?

My family moved from "poor" county near the coal fields in southwestern Virginia to the "rich" county Maryland three years ago. I only wish my child still had the amenities of the poor county.

I also find it hard to believe that the story characterized a county as rich based solely on variable per pupil spending rates. To what extent is the sample of one school applicable to other schools in the same county? Did the analysis include an examination of the amounts spent on maintenance and capital improvements with a comparison to the number of students served? Did it compare the cost of living (which affects the cost of school operation) in each county? AMY L. MANHEIM Bethesda