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Departing Lew-Port School Board member won't go quietly

   Longtime Lewiston-Porter School Board member Edward Lilly has at least one more salvo planned before leaving the board at the end of the month. It involves fellow board members he believes have done him and district residents wrong - and the Ten Commandments.

   Lilly plans to bring a measure before the board that would display the Commandments in each of the district's four schools, which would "keep the board from doing things they have done in the past," he told The Buffalo News for a story in today's Niagara edition.

   Lilly said that his proposal for posting the Ten Commandments was prompted by what he felt were accusations of sexism made against him by opponents in his unsuccessful re-election bid to the school board. Also a factor in his proposal, he said, was the decision by fellow board members to allow a male teacher to quietly resign in 2007 after having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old female student.

   Even though there are secular aspects to the commandments - like a prohibition on killing and a call to honor one's parents - there are impressionable minds who may take such a display as a school's sponsorship of religion, said Jay Worona, general counsel for the New York State School Boards Association.

   The U.S. Supreme Court already has decided that the Ten Commandments should not be displayed on school grounds, Worona said.

   Lilly is undaunted by such talk, and vows to press for a school board vote on the matter.

   It won't be the first time he's looked to impose his will.

   He and fellow board member Scott A. Stepien were booted off the board by a board 4-2 vote in June 2007 for failing to take a financial oversight course. They were reinstated the following spring, after State Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills decided that removing the pair was too harsh a sanction. In his first move upon his return, Lilly sponsored two resolutions that would have required two former board members who spearheaded his ouster to pay their own legal expenses in $100,000 libel and slander lawsuits Lilly filed against them.

   In April, Lilly also successfully got a proposal on last month's school election ballot seeking to reduce the size of the board from seven members to five, after he and his school board supporters were warned the district didn't have enough time to carry out the legal steps to properly put the proposal before voters.

   It's a track record that leads to this question: What is motivating Lilly to pitch the Ten Commandments idea now?

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Education | Lew-Port
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