By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

CRANSTON, R.I. (CBS) – A huge crowd packed Cranston High School West, angry over a ruling which forced the city to take down a prayer banner that’s been up in the school for decades.

A federal judge already ruled the prayer banner has to be taken down, but in the end, it came down to a battle between faith and money.

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Early on it looked like Thursday night’s public hearing was going to go the way of those before it: A rabid shout fest.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

The crowd was heavily in favor of appealing a federal court’s decision ordering the school district to remove the prayer mural with religious wording.

The banner was a gift from the class of 1964.

It begins with, “Our Heavenly Father…” and asks students to be good scholars and community leaders.

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The school argued that the banner was part of the history of the school.

But once the argument was framed in economic terms, even pro-banner speakers changed their tune.

School officials estimated that an appeal to the 1st Circuit Court in Boston and maybe eventually the Supreme Court could cost the city up to $500,000.

After two hours of public hearings, the Cranston School Committee voted 5-2 against an appeal.

Quietly in the back row the whole time sat Jessica Ahlquist, the 16-year-old high school junior who first challenged the banner’s constitutionality. Ahlquist has been the target of online threats and was briefly escorted by police while at school.

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“I’m really pleased with the decision,” Ahlquist said after the vote. “It’s obviously the decision I wanted the School Committee to make and I’m thrilled.”