The School Committee last night unanimously approved a proposal that asks the city to split the $150,000 in legal fees owed to the American Civil Liberties Union after losing the prayer banner case.
Superintendent Peter Nero proposed the plan at last night's meeting.
The city has already paid the bill. Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung said that the city paid the bill recently and is hoping the school department pays back the city some of the money.
Under the proposal, the district would pay the city $75,000.
The banner, which contained a school prayer, was ordered removed by a U.S. District Court Judge earlier this year.
The enormous banner has hung in this Rhode Island high school since 1963. It begins with the phrase "Our Heavenly Father" and ends with "Amen," and hung in place for decades before it became the center of controversy. A Cranston student who objected to the banner's presence sued the district with the help of the ACLU, and in January a judge ordered that the banner be removed.
The ACLU . In a letter to the district at the time, Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU, wrote "there can be no question that the school auditorium’s prayer display violates a core principle of the First Amendment."
In April of 2011, Jessica Ahlquist, a 16 year old Cranston West student and self-described atheist, filed suit to have the banner removed. She was called "an evil little thing," a "clapping seal" and a "pawn star"
David Bradley, the author of the prayer and a graduate of the class of 1963, said he was tasked to write the prayer and the creed as a student council member in 1960 at the request of his adviser and the school administration.
The 21st century church and state debate brought media from around the country and the world to Cranston.
The banner has not found a new home, yet. The School Committee has not decided where it will go and could choose between a number of offers from public and private groups to give it a new resting place including a church and several businesses. School officials said the banner is being stored in a "secure location."