State Constitutional Provision
- Okla. Const. art. II, § 5: "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, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or
dignitary, or sectarian institution as such."
City of Enid, 771 P.2d 608 (Okl. 1989) (A city ordinance benefiting a private
university did not violate the state constitution since the school was not a
sectarian institution but rather an institution with some religious
Board of Ed. for Independent School Dist. No. 52 v. Antone, 384
P.2d 911 (Okl. 1963) (The court re-affirmed the
decision in Gurney v. Ferguson).
State for Use And Benefit of Town of Pryor v.
Williamson, 347 P.2d 204 (Okl. 1959) (The Supreme Court of Oklahoma affirmed as
constitutional the building of a privately-funded memorial chapel on state
land used for gatherings including nonsectarian, nondenominational religious
Orphans Home v. Childers, 171
P.2d 600 (Okl. 1946) (Based on the state’s
duty to care for needy children, the state can contract with private,
sectarian institutions to care for orphans without violating the state
constitution as long as the state receives a substantial return and the
payments do not amount to a gift, donation, or appropriation having no relevancy
to the affairs of the State).
Gurney v. Ferguson, 122 P.2d 1002 (Okla. 1941) (A state statute
providing transportation to private school students as well as public school
students is a clear violation of Article II, Section 5 of the state constitution).
Sharp v. City of Guthrie, 152 P. 403 (Okla.
1915) (As long as adequate consideration is given, a city can sell property
to a sectarian institution without violating the state constitution).
Oklahoma Ry. Co. v. St.
Joseph's Parochial School, 127
P. 1087 (Okla. 1912) (The Supreme Court of Oklahoma held that a provision in
a municipal grant of railway rights requiring the railroad to provide
discounted rates to students included private school students because the
“makers of the Constitution recognized that parents might prefer their
children to attend sectarian, denominational, or private schools rather than
the public schools maintained by the state” and, therefore, the presumption
is that the contract would not discriminate).
Connell v. Gray, 127 P. 417 (Okla.
1912) (The state board of regents cannot require students to pay a fee used
for the maintenance of the YMCA and YWCA as an entrance requirement under
Art. 2, § 5).
State Attorney General Opinions
· 1984 Op. Atty. Gen. No. 227. (“Funds raised by or through a public trust organized under 60
O.S.1981, § 176 that do not come from the public treasury are not
‘public money’ and not subject to Article II, § 5 of the Oklahoma
1982 Op. Atty.
Gen. No. 169. (Federal funds deposited in the state treasury pursuant to a
federal grant-in-aid program are held in trust for a specific purpose
pursuant to congressional policy and regardless of state constitutional
limitations restricting the use of state funds.).
1982 Op. Atty.
Gen. No. 68. (Because provisions of the federal Omnibus Reconciliation Act
allocate funds to private schools, the State cannot administer these portions
without contravening Art. 10, § 15, and Art. 2, § 5 of the Oklahoma
Constitution. A dual enrollment procedure cannot be used to remedy the
1981 Op. Atty.
Gen. No. 196. (The State Board of Vocational and Technical Education may
contract with private nonsectarian post-secondary educational institutions to
provide a vocational training program but it may not contract with private
sectarian post-secondary educational institutions).
1979 Op. Atty.
Gen. No. 60. (The State Constitution prohibits the State from administering
and providing services to private school students under Title IV programs.).
1979 Op. Atty. Gen. No. 132. (Art. 2, § 5, of the Oklahoma Constitution
prohibits the State Department of Energy from using certain federal grants to
assist private sectarian schools in modifying their facilities to conserve
· 1971 Op. Atty. Gen. No. 272. (July 1, 1971) (The
state constitution restricts trustees of a public trust from issuing bonds
and using the proceeds financially support a
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