Where I come from, about half the adults have university degrees, and half of those have a degree on sciences, technology or mathematics. All powered by public high quality education. That probably explains why people there are innovative and why there we are doing way better than most parts of Europe.
So, as far as I am concerned, quality public education not only does not cost money, it’s actually free and makes money for the region. And it can be as solid as the best university in the world. This is a believe I hold strongly, for I’ve seen it working on myself. Or, also, ask any of your scandinavian friends.