The Post's editorial about public school funding ["No Way to Treat Public Schools," Dec. 11] creates the false impression that the District of Columbia's public schools' financial difficulties are attributable to the need to fund the District's public charter schools. Just like the District's public schools, the public charter schools do not know how much money they will be receiving this year and are being threatened with serious underfunding. For many of the public charter schools, some of which have as few as 75 students, this is a disaster in the making.

The pain being suffered by Arlene Ackerman and the leaders of the public charter schools has been caused by the District's failure to send to Congress last spring a budget bill that fully funded all public school students--public schools and charter.

Early in the budget process the D.C. Public Charter School Coalition provided the mayor and the council with school-by-school estimates showing that approximately 3,500 additional students would be attending the public charter schools this year, for a total of 7,000. In spite of this, the District budgeted only enough money to fund 3,800 students--approximately $30 million less than what everyone knew would be required when September rolled around.

In an era of budget surpluses and tax cuts, there is no reason why the District cannot fully fund all of its public school students, as the law requires. Both D.C. Public Schools and the public charter schools serve the same public schoolchildren and should not be forced to compete for the funding they need to do their jobs well.



The writer is executive director of an organization that supports charter schools in the District.