Washington County public school districts are joining a growing list of districts statewide considering legal action against the Oklahoma State Board of Education over its recent decision on charter school funding.

In a special meeting March 25, the state board voted 4-3 to settle a lawsuit brought against it nearly four years ago by the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association seeking an equal share of local tax levies that fund traditional public schools.

These levies include revenue from county tax collections, the state’s gross production, state school land earnings as well as motor vehicle and rural electrification association tax collections.

Charter schools are public schools that receive enrollment-based state aid as traditional schools do. Unlike traditional schools, charters aren’t required to account for how they spend state funds. In addition, their school boards are appointed rather than elected.

In the moments before the state Board of Education took its vote, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister argued vigorously that approving the resolution would be unconstitutional. 

“Based on legal advice, this violates Oklahoma statute, Oklahoma constitution, and the oath that I swore to uphold when I took office, and I do not support this nor do I think the board should vote to approve this settlement,” she said.