OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (OSVCSB) voted 3-2 Monday to approve the contract with St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School to make the first religious public charter school in the country.
The school’s application was approved in June and is already facing legal action. The OSVCSB hired an outside legal team after Attorney General Gentner Drummond denied representing the board in litigation since the board went against his prior legal advice.
Now, the board has approved a contract to outline how the board expects the first taxpayer funded religious charter school to operate.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, American Civil Liberties Union, Education Law Center and Freedom From Religion Foundation – the organizations leading the current lawsuit – issued the following joint statement:
The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board is continuing on a misguided path to create the nation’s first religious public charter school in clear violation of Oklahoma law and the state’s promise of church-state separation and public schools that are open to all. The board is ignoring the legal and public education experts, religious freedom advocates, and Oklahoma taxpayers who all oppose St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School – a public school that plans to discriminate against students, families, and staff and indoctrinate students into one religion. Our plaintiffs are fighting the approval of St. Isidore in court because they are committed to public schools that welcome and serve all Oklahomans.
The school is set to open in 2024 but that could change with lawsuits that Drummond said could end up all the way at the U.S. Supreme Court.