Technicality could vacate establishment of first religious charter school

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
The Oklahoma State Capitol building in Oklahoma City. traveler1116/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Technicality could vacate establishment of first religious charter school

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A technicality could vacate the establishment of the United States’s first religious charter school.

Half an hour before the Monday 3-2 vote that established the St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School as the nation’s first religious charter school, Oklahoma’s Attorney General’s Office expressed the opinion that Oklahoma City businessman Brian Bobek, the most recent appointee on the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, is ineligible to vote until November, Tulsa World reported. Bobek gave the needed in-favor vote that passed the resolution, meaning the decision to establish the school must be reversed if the attorney general’s opinion is enforced.

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Bobek was appointed to replace Barry Beauchamp on Friday. Deputy Attorney General Niki Batt argued that Beauchamp had not yet vacated his seat when Bobek’s deciding vote was cast, and that the new member must wait until November to take his place on the board.

“It basically says he shouldn’t even be seated,” board Chairman Robert Franklin said of Batt’s email.

The email stating the Attorney General’s Office’s opinion was not read before the Monday meeting, which began at noon. The email, obtained by Tulsa World, was timestamped at 11:34 a.m.

“Members shall serve until their successors are duly appointed for a term of three (3) years. Appointments shall be made by and take effect on November 1 of the year in which the appointment is made,” Batt’s email read.

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“Indeed, it is my understanding that Mr. Beauchamp requested to be reappointed and was only made aware of his replacement on the afternoon of (Friday) June 2, 2023,” she continued. “Mr. Beauchamp’s continued service demonstrates that there was not a vacancy to warrant the immediate placement of Mr. Bobek on the Board. Accordingly, it is my opinion that pursuant to 51 O.S. § 15, Mr. Beauchamp should continue serving until his successor, Mr. Bobek, is duly qualified on November 1 pursuant to the provisions of 70 O.S. § 3-145.1(B).”

Phil Bacharach, a spokesman for Attorney General Gentner Drummond, told the outlet that the attorney general will “will carefully weigh all available options before taking any action.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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