LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — After the COVID pandemic, classrooms around the state lost 721 instructors, or about a 10% drop.

The head of the Michigan Association of School Boards warns that the shortages go deeper than just teachers.

Teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals … Just how bad is it?

“It’s really bad,” said Don Wotruba, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards. “They can’t find bus drivers. We have classrooms that don’t have enough kids.”

The governor and the Democrats hope that by providing financial assistance in the state’s new budget to current teachers, they will stay on board and the incentives would hopefully lure new ones into the profession.

The state school superintendent reports that progress is being made on this front, but there is still more to do.

Meanwhile, MSU, which has the number one education school in the country, lowered its requirement from five to four years to get an education degree at a savings of about $17,000 per student.

“I think we’ve seen a decline, particularly during COVID and after, in the number of people going on to college, and so we’re gonna have less degreed individuals,” Wotruba said.

“We saw that when Amazon was looking at Michigan, we don’t have the talent; workface here. And so I think it’s a shift of what people want to do is part of it. Frankly, education has been disrespected in the policy world for a couple of decades, at least,” Wotruba continued.

Under previous Republican administrations, teachers were required to jump through hoops, including more paperwork, in addition to just teaching.

“More reporting; more teaching to a test — not using their creativity to engage kids. I think that makes it hard for people to say, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want to do,'” Wotruba said.

So, as children return to school this week and beyond, some of their former teachers that greeted them before may not be there.

How deep is the loss?

The data is yet to be collected.