Oklahoma Leaders Disagree On Legality Of Publicly Funded Catholic School

A religious school is being funded by public money, Governor Stitt and Attorney General Drummond disagree on the legality of the situation.

Tuesday, October 24th 2023, 4:30 pm

Government leaders are divided on the first ever religious charter school being opened in Oklahoma. Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a lawsuit saying the school violates religious liberties laid out in the constitution.

Governor Kevin Stitt and State Superintendent Ryan Walters are in favor of the school, saying it provides another option for parental school choice.

“We think more school options are a good thing, so we're excited Catholics are setting up St. Isidore school and hopefully this gets across the finish line,” said Governor Stitt.

St. Isidore is the first ever publicly funded Catholic charter school. It was approved by the state's virtual charter school board in June. 

“I believe in Oklahoma we believe in religious freedoms,” Stitt said. 

“When the narrative is 'this is an act against religious liberty,' know that is a lie. Anybody who says that is perturbing religious liberty,” said Drummond.

Drummond filed a lawsuit in the State Supreme Court after a contract for St. Isidore was signed last week.

“I'm asking the supreme court to issue a writ that prohibits the contract from going forward, makes the statewide virtual charter board cancel its contract and start doing its job,” said Drummond.

Drummond is suing the five members on the virtual charter school board who approved the school over the summer, saying they violated the state and U.S. constitutions.

“We are prohibited as a state from funding religion,” said Drummond.

Drummond says approving this school sets a dangerous precedent.

“It requires us to fund also, let's say if a satanic temple makes an application, or you name the variety of religion or non-religion. Once the doors open, the door is open and we have to play ball,” said Drummond.

News 9 asked the governor where he would draw the line if St. Isidore would open, and who would determine which religions would be allowed to open the next school. Stitt said there shouldn’t be a line drawn, and that parents should be able to send their child to any school of their choosing.

“I don't understand why they would sue and keep people from sending their kids to a school of their choice,” said Stitt.


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