Candidates focus on the millage, college finances

Candidates, from left, Aaron Mason, Steven Hill, Edward Feldman and William Bruck, discuss MCCC's financial challenges.

Money woes were on the minds of four Monroe County Community College Board of Trustees candidates.

The candidates were asked a variety of questions at a forum sponsored by The Agora and each came back multiple times to the topic of the college’s money issues.

Aaron Mason, Edward Feldman, William Bruck, and Steven Hill all agreed financial responsibility is the top priority for whomever is elected and expressed their desire to see the five-year millage pass on Nov. 8.

Current Trustee Mason is running unopposed for a four year term on the board, but the other three are vying for two six-year terms.

Feldman is also a current trustee; he and Mason were appointed last December. Hill and Bruck are both newcomers.

Each of the four touched on the various areas that could make a positive difference in the school’s future, including passing of the millage, building relationships with people in the community, a reform of the K-12 education system, and making tuition more affordable.

“Education has made all the difference in my life and I look forward to making sure everyone has had the same opportunities for success that I have,” Hill said.

Hill works with small business owners as a business development executive with Eby-Brown Corp and serves on the Allen Park Charter Review Commission and with Business Network International.  

He encouraged minimizing the cost of tuition and building better relationships with high schools and AP classes to ensure students are ready for college.

Mason also highlighted the need for more college preparation.

“Middle college students have a higher GPA than a regular college student,” Mason said.

Mason is a vice president at Monroe Bank & Trust and group manager of Mortgage and Consumer Lending at the bank. He also is a former MCCC student.

He explained how higher levels of college prep from the area schools would ensure new college students would not have to worry about taking remedial classes before moving on to classes that counted for college credit.  

He went on to talk about strategies to lower the costs of classes to make a college education more accessible for prospective students.

Feldman elaborated on the cost of tuition.  

Feldman is a retired Monroe physician, and a former MCCC instructor.

He would like to see tuition costs go down and scholarships be extended to part-time students, instead of just full-time students.  

He discussed the college’s finances, then transitioned into tuition and the need for campus repairs.

“If you have problems in your home, you repair them,” Feldman said. “That’s what we want to do with our home.”

He said the millage needs to pass, so that the college could make necessary repairs and give students the opportunities they deserve.

Bruck said the college could offer students more opportunities if relationships were cultivated throughout the community.  

Bruck is the owner of the home health care agency, Visiting Angels, a journeyman lineman electrician, and an active Army Reservist.

He said good relationships have the potential to make a bad situation much better and mentioned the need to build these relationships with both current and future students.

Bruck also said that in the future tradesman work will be in high demand, so the college should offer more opportunities to enter these fields.

Not everyone can get a master’s degree and become a doctor, he said.

“Is the college a stepping stone to higher education or is this the education the people of the community are looking for?” Bruck asked. “The college must emphasize the trades that are our future workforce.”

He said better relationships with the people of the community would show them the opportunities at the college, including those available through the middle college program.  

He momentarily touched on veteran’s benefits and conveyed his desire to be a voice for veterans.

In closing remarks, the candidates discussed their various hopes for the future of the college and for themselves..

Several again touched on their support for the college’s millage, which is on the ballot Nov. 8.