ATLANTA -- Students in Atlanta Public Schools will return in to school August to find they no longer have orchestra and band programs at their elementary schools.
The district is eliminating the programs and that also means dozens of music teachers are out of jobs.
Among them, Arthur McClenton, who even plays music while walking down the street on his way to an interview. He has played since he was a toddler.
"Once an instrument was put in my hand that gave me hope above all others because I could express myself," said McClenton
That passion is what he has given to Atlanta Public School students for 27 years. In recent years, four and five schools a week, but that's about to change.
"We (music teachers) were blindsided, when other teachers received contracts, we received letters saying we were going to be abolished. We didn't know. It just hit us," said McClenton.
An APS statement said the district is "increasing instructional quality and efficiency" and "every APS elementary student will receive General Music instruction – chorus, music appreciation, introduction to instruments.
But, no more orchestra or band at the elementary level, unless clusters decide to put money toward paying teachers for those programs.
"It's not an isolated problem. It's a much bigger problem," said Chris Monroe, President of the Gift of Music Foundation, Chris Monroe.
Monroe said Atlanta is not alone in taking music programs out of schools.
"I just think that a lot of people aren't educated on the importance of arts in schools. It's been proven over and over again that music training has a direct positive correlation on academics," said Monroe.
Monroe said the programs also give some students a reason to come to school.