Education, spending roles finally being cast in Pa.

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The pieces are starting to fall into place for one of the volatile parts of Pennsylvania government for the incoming administration.

The state House and Senate GOP leaders have named the chairs of their education committees. Lawmakers expect the panels to see a lot of action in the coming legislative session, since Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has underlined education funding as his top priority upon entering office.

In the House, the education chairman is Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York, who said he hopes to work on a new funding formula for schools.

“Nobody understands the current funding formula,” said Saylor. “That’s part of the problem.”

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The Basic Education Funding Commission is winding down its study of the state’s method for divvying up education money. A report is due to the Legislature in June.

Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, picked to chair the Senate Education Committee, is already on the funding commission. He said he’s encouraged by the work he’s seen so far and is eager to see it implemented with legislation.

“There’s a lot of interest in pointing the way forward, and much less in pointing fingers of blame,” said Smucker. “I’m hopeful the work of the commission will result in a new formula and result in some good education policy.”

Also integral to any talk of school funding are the chairs of the appropriations committees. In the House, Rep. Bill Adolph, R-Delaware, will keep the post, which he’s had for years. In the Senate, Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, will chair the panel of the purse.

Wolf hasn’t yet named his education secretary.

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