I was appalled to read in "Around the Region" {Metro, Sept. 21} of attempts by Gov. L. Douglas Wilder to fund Virginia's welcome centers at a time when state funds for education have been slashed. It is unbelievable that this story got no more attention than it did. Wasn't it just recently that The Post and other papers ran stories decrying the fall in statewide SAT scores?

What type of person would fight so hard for a service that largely benefits travelers from out of state while at the same time mandating steep educational budget cuts for primary, secondary and post-secondary state-supported schools?

Clearly at a time of declining SAT scores more emphasis should be placed on school programs at all levels. Virginia's future depends on the intelligence of its inhabitants, not on the largess of tourists who would likely come whether or not the welcome centers were in operation.

The move by Gov. Wilder is just plain wrong. If he can find money for such nonsense as welcome centers, surely funds can be provided for the critical task of educating our next generation of leaders. This pitiful example of how state decisions are made indicates that it is high time people in Richmond got their priorities straight.

Closing the welcome centers and increasing school funding is an excellent place to start. LARRY ALLEN Falls Church