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Catholic charter school says it will fight 'discrimination' as it delays accepting taxpayer dollars

The St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Catholic Charter School Board meets in Broken Arrow at the Tulsa Diocese on June 28, 2024.
Elizabeth Caldwell
/
KWGS News
The St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Catholic Charter School Board meets in Broken Arrow at the Tulsa Diocese on June 28, 2024.

A Catholic school that aimed to be the country’s first publicly funded religious charter will delay opening after the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

In a brief meeting at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa in Broken Arrow on Friday, St. Isidore of Seville’s board voted to postpone educating students until at least 2025. It likewise says it will not accept state funding until the same year.

Members declined to be interviewed by Public Radio Tulsa, but in a statement credited to the school on its website, officials expressed disappointment.

“We will continue to fight this decision and the unconstitutional discrimination against educators and families of faith, and we are currently in discussions with the legal team as to our next steps for appealing the decision,” reads the statement.

Families with commitments to attend will have to seek other options, according to the school.

Nonprofit news outlet Oklahoma Voice reports the Statewide Virtual School Board declined on Friday to rescind the school’s contract, though the Supreme Court ordered it.

St. Isidore was approved by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board last June and was set to open this August with more than 200 applications.

Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s challenge to the board resulted in a Tuesday 6-2 decision saying taxpayer dollars cannot be used to fund a religious school.

Jolie is an undergraduate student at American University in Washington, D.C., studying peace and conflict resolution in international affairs. She is deeply passionate about the role of local media in fostering community engagement and is excited to contribute to and learn from Public Radio Tulsa. She's part of the George Kaiser Community Foundation’s Summer Impact Internship program.
Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.