Legal Battles Continue Around Publicly Funded Religious School

State Superintendent Ryan Walters sat down with News 9's reporter Haley Wager on why he was denied to intervene in the lawsuit against the first publicly funded Catholic charter school.

Tuesday, November 14th 2023, 5:12 pm

By: News 9, Haley Weger


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The state supreme court has denied State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ request to intervene in the lawsuit over the state's first-ever publicly funded catholic charter school.

“We're very proud that Oklahoma is the first state in the country to authorize a religious charter school,” said State Superintendent Ryan Walters. “Not only do I think they have the right to do so, I think it's incredibly helpful to the state of Oklahoma and the parents of Oklahoma to be given another great option with an entity that's proven itself to do a great job in educating our kids,” said Walters.

Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed the lawsuit in the state supreme court, calling St. Isidore unconstitutional. “We are prohibited as a state from funding religion,” said Drummond.

The original suit was filed against the state virtual charter school board members who approved St. Isidore over the summer.

Walters says both he, in his official capacity as State Superintendent, and OSDE should have been named in the lawsuit because they are ultimately the ones that would have oversight over the school, and dictate the school’s funding. “The Department of Education will give the funding directly to the school like we do all the other charter schools. So it was very interesting that we're not in this case because we will be the ones that fully authorize this school,” said Walters.

Drummond objected to the motion to intervene, saying Walters and OSDE, either “do not know their role relative to school funding” or “misinterpret their role,” going on to say they are not entitled to intervention by right. “The supreme court will rule how they see fit but the reality is the state department of education will move forward with the school, we will fund the school,” said Walters.

Walters says regardless of this decision, he and OSDE are not backing down on the school. “We're going to continue to intervene in these lawsuits, we're going to continue to defend ourselves and most importantly we're going to continue to defend parents' rights to have these options,” said Walters.

Related Articles:

Walters Asks Department Of Education To Defend Publicly Funded Catholic Charter School

Oklahoma Attorney General Says Approval Of Religious Charter School Goes Against State Constitution

Okla. Attorney General Files Lawsuit; Ryan Walters And Gov. Stitt Respond

Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against The Funding Of A Religious School With Taxpayer Money

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