CNA Staff, Nov 16, 2023 / 15:15 pm
The Oklahoma Supreme Court this week denied a request by the state superintendent of schools to intervene in a lawsuit involving the nation’s first religious charter school, a possible setback for the school as the lawsuit potentially threatens its plans for opening next year.
State Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a lawsuit last month against the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, arguing the establishment of St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School violated the state’s religious liberty protections.
Charter schools are special publicly funded education institutions; the National Charter School Resource Center defines a “charter school” as a public “school of choice,” one that remains “publicly accountable” while still retaining autonomy in how it is run and managed.
A party can seek to “intervene” in a lawsuit if it claims to have a legitimate interest in the dispute. The Oklahoma State Department of Education and State Superintendent Ryan Walters had sought to intervene against Drummond’s filing, citing the department’s role in administering state aid to the charter school. Walters had said earlier this month the motion was meant to “defend [the Department of Education’s] interest in distributing state aid without religious discrimination.”