A Cambria County lawmaker has been picked to lead the state Senate’s education committee.
State Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., R-Richland Township, was named chairman of the high-profile 11-member committee, which is tasked with vetting, shaping and recommending legislation that impacts the education system.
Pennsylvania spends approximately $6 billion annually on basic education alone, not including additional resources allocated for preschool programs and higher education.
Langerholc’s appointment comes as the state has been revamping its funding allocations to public schools, increasing support for career-readiness and backing efforts to improve school safety and security at a time school shootings have been on the rise nationwide.
Langerholc said he was “excited and honored” to take on the role – but also noted that it’s a serious one.
“With education compiling 40 percent of our state budget, it is vital that we ensure these tax dollars are allocated fairly and equitably,” Langerholc said.
Langerholc, a father of three, said he also understands the “critical role” Pennsylvania’s education system plays.
“Our children’s education is our future,” he said. “I look forward to embracing the challenges our schools face and finding creative ways to address the needs of all students.”
Langerholc is a newcomer to the education committee, but he has represented the Senate on the state Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s School Safety and Security Committee, which was assigned the task of revamping school security planning in 2018.
Senate President Joe Scarnati said he is “confident that (Langerholc) will ... be an outstanding leader and champion of educational issues as chair of the Education Committee.”
Langerholc said he he plans to meet with fellow committee members and stakeholders throughout the state to go over legislation currently on the committee’s desk and set up a priority list for the coming months.
By taking the post, Langerholc is stepping down from the state Senate Communications and Technology committee.