In view of the revelations concerning the lack of funding for D.C. public schools athletic programs [Sports, Oct. 7], I wonder why the D.C. Council can vote $4.7 million for a tennis center [Metro, Oct. 6]. Shouldn't our priority be fixing our broken-down high school sports facilities and properly outfitting our teams?

A strong high school sports program can mean college scholarships, jobs and character building. A perfect example of this is the former Cardozo swim team, which Stanley Gainor coached from 1964 to 1984. Most of his swimmers came from the Clifton Terrace neighborhood. The coach was able to get scholarships for hundreds of his swimmers. One of his swimmers was Bruce Bradford, swimming coach at H. D. Woodson. Coach Bradford received a scholarship to Stan Gainor's alma mater, Tennessee A.&I. He is now teaching and getting scholarships for his swimmers.

But Cardozo no longer has a swim team. Because of a lack of funds for repairs, its pool is now used as storage space. The Roosevelt High pool has been closed for about eight years. The Shaw Junior High pool also is closed.

I recently attended the football game between Dunbar High and Dematha. Dematha had twice as many players suited up as Dunbar. A team can only field as many players as it has uniforms for. Despite their lack of numbers, Dunbar held Dematha to a tie game.

The D.C. Council needs to rethink its priorities.

JAMES FERGUSON

Washington