In March 2012, an Oklahoma State District Court declared a state voucher program in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.
Judge Rebecca Nightingale did not explain her ruling. In an order several days later, she allowed the voucher program to continue while voucher-seeking parents appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
The Oklahoma constitution says,
“No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary or sectarian institution as such.”
Oklahoma’s Jenks and Union School Districts filed the suit.
The Tulsa World reported, “Jerry Richardson, the school districts’ attorney, noted that of the 40 private schools approved to participate in the scholarship program, only two were not affiliated with a church or religion.
“He also argued that the law doesn’t place any restrictions on what the private schools may do with the state funding.
“‘If the religious institution wants to spend every dollar on proselytizing, the Act doesn’t address this,’ Richardson said.”
The case is Jenks v. Spry.