The July 15 editorial "Rethinking D.C. Vouchers" said that voucher supporters in the District should determine whether private or religious schools in the city, through a bit of extra effort, can increase their enrollment capacity in order to accept more students with federal vouchers. That's a laudatory but unrealistic notion.

As the veteran of two private school expansion battles in Northwest Washington as well as an observer of several others, I have seen strong and often nasty opposition from neighbors and Advisory Neighborhood Commission members.

There are legitimate concerns about traffic and parking, but some people complain that students have the audacity to walk on the sidewalks, cross the streets and just be in their neighborhoods. Three years ago, D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3) created a task force to deal with the tensions that arise from these fights.

Although private schools may want to stay relatively small, it is not they that are erecting an "unyielding stone wall" to keep additional voucher students out.



The writer is on the board of directors of the Edmund Burke School on Upton Street NW and served on the board of the Sheridan School for nine years.