An Ling Lam protests at an April 22 public hearing on the Fulton County Schools’ 2011 budget.

By Amy Wenk

People are not happy about budget cuts proposed for Fulton County Schools next year.

Parents, students and faculty visited Dunwoody Springs Charter Elementary School in Sandy Springs on April 22 to protest before the school board.

The board must close a budget gap of $117.3 million and has proposed nixing band and orchestra from elementary school, firing employees and raising taxes, among other things.

“This has been a difficult budget season for everybody,” said Fulton Superintendent Cindy Loe.

A dozen or so children played instruments like violins and cellos at the school’s entrance. Others held colorful posters or signs that demanded band and orchestra remain at elementary schools. The Fulton Board of Education has proposed removing music education from the school day of fourth and fifth-grade students and instead offering it afterschool for a fee.

Fifth-grader Caroline Wittschen protests the removal of band and orchestra at Fulton County schools at an April 22 public hearing on next year’s budget.

“It makes me feel angry they are getting rid of my opportunity to play music,” said fifth-grader Caroline Wittschen as she leaned on a brick column at the school’s entry. She was holding her empty violin case that held a sign that said “Why are you taking my instrument away?”