Moment of silence required in Illinois Schoolsthat schools will be required to observe a moment of silence, after both houses of the Illinois Legislature overrode Gov. Rod Blagojevich's veto of a bill mandating it. Schools were already allowed to observe a moment of silence, but it was not required.
Most superintendents said the law won't mean a big change in the school day, and most will use time already set aside for the Pledge of Allegiance.
"We certainly intend to follow state law," Culver said.
He plans to talk with principals to determine the appropriate duration for the "brief" period of silence now required by Illinois law. He said it will likely be about 15 to 20 seconds in the Champaign schools.
And the battle continues in Springfield
It's almost certainly the most expensive personality conflict in Illinois history: billions of dollars in construction grants, school funding, local projects and other spending held up in Springfield, because of a personal grudge-match between two of the state's top Democratic leaders.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker Michael Madigan have been at it all year. The fight is ostensibly about Blagojevich's quest for a health care initiative, and Madigan's insistence that the state can't afford it.
But it's clear the conflict also encompasses the different backgrounds, political styles and personalities of two powerful men who need one another to run the state, but who (many believe) can't stand each other.
"It's palpable. Any time those two guys are in the same room, you can feel it," says state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, echoing a common observation in the Capitol. "The hatred, the venom, the seething. … It's real."
The current conflict began as a policy dispute. Blagojevich wanted a major new business tax to fund his health care initiative. Madigan opposed it. It turned personal, in part, because of the two men's very different styles.
The atmosphere ultimately became so poisoned that, when the Blagojevich administration recently fired a state employee who happens to be the spouse of a top Madigan staffer, few doubted it was the governor's latest salvo. (The administration denies the firing was politically motivated.)
"This is absolutely all about personalities. … It's never been worse than this," said state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Highland. The Legislature adjourned Friday. It will probably reconvene later this month. Without agreement on several remaining budget issues, the state will be unable to send millions of dollars to schools next month or launch a state infrastructure package worth billions.