Florida’s Legislature wants to defund NWSA, whose alumni made Moonlight and Cocaine Cowboys

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Update: The Florida House reversed course and asked for $500,00 for New World School of the Arts as of Saturday, April 29. That is only a $150,000 cut, versus the $650,000 originally discussed.

It pains me to report that Miami’s New World School of the Arts (NWSA) is facing a devastating cut in state funding, right as the alumni of the public school are starting to gain wide recognition for their artistic pursuits.

That’s why I need you to make a phone call today.

The Florida House and Senate are meeting today, Friday April 28th to arm wrestle over the new state budget.

NWSA’s funding is not currently in that budget.

As an alumni of NWSA, I can say that it was critical to my own career; the place where I honed learned many of the skills you see in my radio broadcasting and journalism today — and that all happened there while I attended school for singing.

“The Florida legislature created the New World School of the Arts 30-years ago,” says Patrick O’Connell, Chairman of the Board for the New World Foundation, which raises private funds which fund the school’s operations.

“The state has provided critical funding to the school since then, and the whole world can see the results.”

Alumni of the Miami-Dade public school — run in partnership with Miami-Dade College and University of Florida  —  have recently been honored for their signature contributions to culturally significant works on the big screen, the stage, and television with Oscars, Tonys, and Grammys.

Oscar-winning movie Moonlight was based on NWSA grad Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, which was adapted for the big screen. The movie  —  based on his life’s story — won this year’s Oscar for best picture.

The Broadway play Hamilton has become a cultural phenomenon, orchestrated by previous Tony winner Alex Lacamoire. He has won multiple Tony awards and Grammy awards for Hamilton’s record setting soundtrack.

Nobody knew that non-fiction documentary movies would spark mass interest when Cocaine Cowboys made its theoretical debut, later becoming a hit on Cinemax. NWSA alum Billy Corben’s production company Rakontur won an Emmy award for the ESPN documentary The U — Part 2.

That is why I am asking you to reach out to Florida’s legislators today and ask to restore the $650,000 line item for NWSA.

Ideally, if you are located in any of these areas in Florida, you will call your corresponding legislator, but you can absolutely call others as well, no matter where you live!

Here’s a list of House and Senate Members serving on the Budget Committee and their phone numbers:

  • Rep. Byron Donalds — R — (850) 717–5080, Naples, Collier County
  • Rep. Randy Fine — R — (850) 717–5053, Palm Bay, Brevard County
  • Rep. Jason Fischer — R — (850) 717–5016, Jacksonville, Duval County
  • Rep. Chris Latvala — R — (850) 717–5067, Hillsborough, Pinellas County
  • Rep. Ralph Massullo — R — (850) 717–5034, Beverly Hills, Citrus County
  • Rep. Stan McClain — R — (850) 717–5023, Ocala, Marion County
  • Rep. Jake Raburn — R — (850) 717–5057, Valrico, Hillsborough County
  • Rep. Paul Renner — R — (850) 717–5024, Palm Coast, Flagler County
  • Rep. Jennifer Sullivan — R — (850) 717–5031, Eustis, Lake County
  • Rep. Bruce Antone — D — (850) 717–5046, Orlando, Orange County
  • Rep. Kamia Brown — D — (850) 717–5045, Ocoee, Orange County
  • Rep. Roy Hardemon — D —(850) 717–5108, Miami, Miami-Dade County
  • Rep. Larry Lee — D — (850) 717–5084, Ft. Pierce, St. Lucie County
  • Rep. Wengay ‘Newt’ Newton — D — (850) 717–5070, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County
  • Rep. Barrington ‘Barry’ Russell — D — (850) 717–5095, Lauderhill, Broward County
  • Sen. David Simmons — R — (850) 487–5009 —  Longwood, Seminole County
  • Sen. Doug Broxson — R — (850) 487–5001 — Pensacola, Escambia County
  • Sen. Gary Farmer — D — (850) 487–5034 — Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County
  • Sen. Denise Grimsley — R — (850) 487–5026 — Lake Placid , Highlands County
  • Sen. Dana Young — R — (850) 487–5018 — Tampa, Hillsborough
  • Sen. Bill Montford — D — (850) 487–5003 — Quincy, Gadsden County
  • Sen. Darryl Rouson — D — (850) 487–5019 — St. Petersburg, Pinellas

Originally published on Medium