**Oklahoma Approves Taxpayer-Funded Religious Charter School: A Bold Move for Religious Liberty**
In a groundbreaking move, Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board approved the country’s first taxpayer-funded, religious charter school on Monday. The decision was met with both praise and criticism from top Republican officials in the state. This bold move can be seen as a major victory for religious liberty and education freedom.
The 3-2 vote allows St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School to operate under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa with taxpayer funding. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt applauded the decision, stating that it is “a win for religious liberty and education freedom” and that Oklahomans support an educational system that expands choice.
Although charter schools are autonomously run public institutions, they cannot be affiliated with any religious organizations or charge tuition, as per the National Charter School Resource Center. However, with recent Supreme Court precedent cases protecting religious liberty, supporters of St. Isidore believe that the decision is both lawful and necessary to meet the needs of Oklahoma families.
Despite the support, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond expressed his disappointment with the decision, stating that it is “contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers.” Drummond warned of potential costly legal action against the school board and the state. However, Brett Farley, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, disagreed with Drummond’s interpretation of the law,