As the parents of students who attend public charter schools, we are disappointed in the support voiced by D.C. Board of Education President Peggy Cooper Cafritz for school vouchers [op-ed, March 29].

The District's vibrant but desperately needy charter schools should be the logical recipients of any available federal funds designated for school choice. Our charter schools face rapidly increasing enrollment and insufficient resources to meet this demand. D.C. charter schools have been so successful that a growing number have long waiting lists. The backlog represents families who want their children in charter schools. Federal funds are the only chance for many of them to attend soon.

Nearly all of our charter schools cry out for these funds. Several are so crowded that they must use classrooms for instruction as well as for other functions. Sasha Bruce, Thurgood Marshall Academy and Ideal Academy public charter schools cannot add a grade next year as planned. Marriott Hospitality Public Charter School is in a facility that cannot accommodate the kitchen equipment necessary for hospitality training.

Diverting funds from public charter schools would be a slap in the face to the energetic parents and teachers who are working against huge odds to build capacity. We have one of the largest systems of charter schools per capita in the country, with almost 12,000 students. Far more children would benefit from these funds if they were designated for charter schools.

THOMAS BROWN

NATHAN EVANS

Washington