The Grand Rapids Business Journal recently lamented that a new Grand Rapids business had to fly employees in from its Las Vegas headquarters because it couldn’t find enough qualified workers in Michigan.

The reason, according to the publication, is that Michigan has been disinvesting in its public school system.

Carole Valade, editor of Gemini Publications, which includes the Grand Rapids Business Journal, wrote on Aug. 11:

“The Business Journal (again) notes when Michigan legislators might finally link the tremendous need for changes in the state education system to the high-tech, high-paying jobs moving out of the state. Consider this: The disinvestment in Michigan education is no savings; it is used instead by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to provide training grants to employers hard-pressed to find the skill sets needed in 2017 — or beyond.”

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A Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency report on K-12 spending, meanwhile, shows a record of more financial support going to public schools.

Lawmakers increased taxpayer funding for Michigan public schools from $11.09 billion in 2011-12 to $12.85 billion in 2017-18. That’s an increase of $1.76 billion, or 8.5 percent over and above inflation over those six years.

In contrast, federal financial support for Michigan public schools dropped by 21 percent from its high point. The federal government contributed $2.18 billion to K-12 schools in 2010-11. That has dropped to $1.73 billion in 2017-18. But that was less disinvestment than the end of the temporary hike through the federal stimulus spending approved in President Barack Obama’s first term.

The state had received fewer dollars from Washington for four consecutive years.

Valade didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.


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