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Two state entities being sued to block the nation’s first religious charter school filed responses in court this week. 

The State Department of Education and Statewide Virtual Charter School Board each filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. So did the school, St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School. 

They argue it’s too soon to file a lawsuit because the school isn’t funded or open yet. They also rely on three U.S. Supreme Court decisions to claim the state can’t exclude a religious organization from a public benefit, including state aid for charter schools. 

A hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. December 21. 

The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee along with 8 parents and taxpayers filed the lawsuit July 31 in an attempt to block the state from finalizing its contract with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and Diocese of Tulsa, which would manage the online, public school. The school would teach religious tenets like in private Catholic schools. 

The parent groups say providing state funding for religious education violates state and federal law. 

Comments, questions, story tips? Reach out via email or direct message.

— Jennifer Palmer

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