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The issue of religious public charter schools

 Tahlequah High School band director Josh Allen wore a custom hat at the Oklahoma state Capitol building during the third day of a statewide education walkout on April 4, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Teachers and their supporters were demanding increased school funding and pay raises for school workers. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
Tahlequah High School band director Josh Allen wore a custom hat at the Oklahoma state Capitol building during the third day of a statewide education walkout on April 4, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Teachers and their supporters were demanding increased school funding and pay raises for school workers. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

A big legal fight is underway in Oklahoma ahead of this school year.

In June, a state board voted 3-to-2 to approve plans for St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Catholic School. It’s named after the seventh-century patron saint of the internet. And it would be the first publicly-funded religious charter school in the country. 

The school is slated to go online in the fall of 2024 but is already facing legal challenges. On July 31, the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee filed a lawsuit to block the school from receiving taxpayer funds.

“News of a suit from these organizations comes as no surprise since they have indicated early in this process their intentions to litigate,” said Brett Farley, Executive Director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, in a statement to 1A. “We remain confident that the Oklahoma court will ultimately agree with the US Supreme Court’s opinion in favor of religious liberty.”

Is the separation of church and state narrowing when it comes to public education? What could St. Isidore’s approval mean for other schools around the country?

 

 

 

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Anna Casey
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