Oklahoma rules publicly funded religious schools unconstitutional

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the first publicly funded religious charter school in the United States, sending back conservatives and the state’s GOP governor who welcomed religious groups into public education.

High Court Decides Statewide Virtual Charter School Board Last year it was a 3-2 vote Approving the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma’s application for Saint Isidore of Seville’s virtual charter school violates the Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from enacting any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” The ruling also states that both the Oklahoma and United States Constitutions and state laws were violated.

The case is being watched closely because supporters of the school believe Recent US Supreme Court Decisions They indicated that the court would be more open to public funds going to religious institutions.

Conservative-led states target public schools: Louisiana must post them The Ten Commandments in ClassroomsOthers are under pressure To teach the Bible And Ban the books Lessons on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

“Under Oklahoma law, a charter school is a public school,” Justice James Winchester, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Frank Keating, wrote in the court’s majority opinion. “Therefore, a charter school must be secular.

“However, St. Isidore will evangelize the Catholic school curriculum when it is funded by the state.”

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa said in a statement that they are “considering all legal avenues” in response to the court’s ruling.

The court’s decision was 7-1, with one member concurring in part and one member, Chief Justice John Kane IV, recusing himself. Judge Dana Kuhn disagreed.

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Five of Oklahoma’s nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republicans and four by Democrats.

Kuhn wrote in his dissent that St. Isidore’s refusal to operate a charter school based solely on its religious affiliation would violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Oklahoma Constitution does not prevent Oklahoma from contracting with religious schools as long as state-funded, non-denominational options are available, Nguyen wrote.

Oklahoma’s Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond urged the board not to approve the deal, asking the state’s highest court to intervene in the case. He appreciated the judgment of the court.

“The framers of the U.S. Constitution and the framers of Oklahoma’s Constitution clearly understood how to protect religious freedom: by prohibiting state sponsorship of any religion,” Drummond said in a statement.

The K-12 online public charter school is set to begin classes for its first 200 students in the fall, part of a mission to evangelize its students to the Catholic faith. Brett Farley, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, is seeking guidance from attorneys on whether to reopen.

Oklahoma Parents, Faith Leaders and Public Education Nonprofit Group He sued to stop the company of school.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who supported the panel’s decision, said he was disappointed that Drummond challenged it and hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would consider the case.

“We have sent a disturbing message that religious groups are second-class participants in our educational system,” Stitt said in a statement. “Charter schools are incredibly popular in Oklahoma — and that’s what we’re saying: We don’t get to pick and choose who gets state dollars based on the religious status of a private institution.”

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