Stephen Morello (Director of Communications, New York City Department of Education. ). New York Times. 12/20/2004.

To the Editor:

Re ''How to Spend $5.6 Billion? Heed Those in the Classrooms,'' by Samuel G. Freedman (On Education column, Dec. 15):

Mr. Freedman implies that through some sort of disconnect, the city's plan under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, a case that moved toward resolution last month with the recommendation by a court-appointed panel to increase aid to city schools by $5.6 billion a year, did not contain funds for improvements proposed by the staff of Middle School 45.

These included specialized teachers, more guidance counselors, training for parents, a translation unit to serve non-English-speaking parents, updated computers and enhanced art programs.

Actually, every one of those elements is in the plan, along with many others, including universal pre-K, smaller classes in the early grades, new small secondary schools, and incentives and rewards for outstanding teachers and principals.

This is hardly surprising since, as the recent court-appointed panel in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity noted, all of our Children First reforms were developed in consultation with the teachers, parents and community leaders who help our schools work every day despite their historical underfinancing by New York State.

Stephen J. Morello

New York, Dec. 15, 2004

The writer is director of communications at the New York City Department of Education.