Oklahoma School Board Approves First U.S Religious Charter School

Empty Classroom

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An Oklahoma school board has approved what would be the nation's first publicly funded religious charter school. It voted 3-2 on Monday to approve the application for the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Catholic Charter School. The online school funded by taxpayer dollars would be run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa. Religious teachings would be part of the curriculum. Oklahoma's Attorney General called the approval unconstitutional, saying legal action is likely to come as soon as a contract for the school is signed.

"I applaud the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board’s courage to approve the authorization for St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School," said Governor Kevin Stitt. "This is a win for religious liberty and education freedom in our great state, and I am encouraged by these efforts to give parents more options when it comes to their child’s education.

Attorney General Gentner Drummond said the decision is unconstitutional and that legal action is likely after a contract for the school is signed.

“The approval of any publicly funded religious school is contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers,” Drummond said. “It’s extremely disappointing that board members violated their oath in order to fund religious schools with our tax dollars. In doing so, these members have exposed themselves and the State to potential legal action that could be costly.”

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