We were greatly disturbed by the article "One School's Balancing Act of Cultural Diversity" {Metro, Jan. 27}. As the parents of young children who would be bused several miles away under the proposed "pairing" plan next year, we felt the article seriously minimized the well-founded objections of many concerned parents.

First, forced busing is exactly that -- forced. Many of us who purchased our homes within walking distance of a neighborhood elementary school (ours is only two blocks away) did so precisely so that our children could walk to school. This arrangement allows parents to be more actively involved in the education of their children and fosters greater community support for school programs. Poorly conceived, arbitrary busing programs and gerrymandering of elementary school boundaries will erode the community involvement and support that is so critical to the success of our schools.

Second, Fairfax County school officials do not seem to be considering the complex academic, social and community issues outlined in the article. Their focus has been on achieving better use of school facilities and balance among schools in terms of numbers of students whose primary language is not English. Little or no attention has been given to an evaluation of the effectiveness of current programs, the needs of students and the logistic and academic problems associated with a hastily prepared pairing strategy. As an elementary school PTA president quoted in the article concludes, this offers a "Band-Aid," not a solution.

Our children now enjoy the benefits of a culturally diverse neighborhood and student body at their school. Our community has adjusted well to a major school facility expansion and now shares these new facilities with another elementary school that is undergoing facility improvements of its own. Forced busing would quickly undermine what the parents of Belvedere Elementary School have all worked so hard to build: a solid school program and supportive surrounding community. There has to be a better way.


Regarding the article ''One School's Balancing Act of Cultural Diversity,'' it should be noted that Fairfax County taxpayers are paying for a $1.5 million addition to Bailey's Elementary School. This addition will be ready for use in September 1991. However, under the boundary change proposals, the school will be under-enrolled by 160 students. This translates into approximately eight classrooms sitting empty.

According to the article, ''School officials said their decisions on boundaries rest more on the best use of facilities than on socioeconomic distribution.'' Yet Robert R. Spillane, superintendent of Fairfax County public schools, states in a letter to Bailey's PTA president, Richard Kurin, ''it seemed advisable to give Bailey's a respite while we monitor developments in the area.'' The proposed boundary changes take into consideration the needs of students attending four schools surrounding the Bailey's area but fail to address the needs of children attending Bailey's.

It is time for school officials to be held accountable for a) their use of taxpayers' money in building programs and b) providing appropriate educational programs for all children. Surely the school administration seeks to live up to its commitment to quality education for all the county's children. How then are the educational needs of the students at Bailey's going to be met while Dr. Spillane and the school board ''monitor developments in the area''? LYNN FERGUSON RIGGS Falls Church