Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Suit Seeks To Require School Boards To Comply With State Voucher Program

Last week, the Tulsa World reported that a number of Oklahoma parents of students with special needs have filed a federal lawsuit against Broken Arrow, Union, Jenks and Tulsa public school districts after those districts announced they would not comply with a 2010 state law setting up a voucher program for students with disabilities. Subsequently the districts temporarily rescinded their noncompliance policy. The complaint (full text) in Kimery v. Broken Arrow Public Schools, (ND OK, filed 4/25/2011), alleges that the school systems have refused to implement the Lindsey Nicole Scholarship for Students With Disabilities Program on the ground that the program violates Art. II, Sec. 5 of Oklahoma's Constitution barring the use of state funds to support religious institutions; the obligation under the state constitution to maintain a free public school system; and the federal equal protection clause.  The suit seeks a declaratory judgement that the school boards' action violate provisions of the U.S. and Oklahoma constitutions as well as federal and state statutory provisions. It also asks for an injunction requiring the school boards to comply with the voucher program.