Brockton Huntington Memorial Day Parade may be canceled to save money

BROCKTON — A 124-year Brockton tradition may be coming to an end as the city’s school district grapples with massive budget deficits.

Acting Superintendent of Schools James Cobbs told the school committee on Tuesday night that the administration has discussed multiple times whether to hold the Huntington Memorial Day Parade this year. The annual parade would be in its 125th year if held this May.

“I made the decision to not put on the Huntington Parade this year for a number of reasons,” Cobbs said. “One is that there’s no Huntington School right now. The school is empty. Two, the price tag to do it, I think (City Council President) Moises Rodrigues put a $125,000 price tag on it. Again, that’s two teachers.”

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Is it already too late?

Cobbs brought the parade up under the new business section of the agenda at Tuesday night’s special school committee meeting. He said he was bringing it to the committee’s attention to put it on an upcoming agenda to take a vote whether to hold it.

“Logistically, to try to plan the parade, there’s no time and we also would have to pay for police details and fire details,” Cobbs said.

The acting superintendent said he was “vilified” in front of the city council recently over the cost of details and crossing guards and when the idea of having the parade first came up this year, Brockton Public Schools was potentially facing a $25 million budget deficit for this current year and next school year.

Brockton schools face massive deficits

In late August 2023, Mayor Robert Sullivan announced that the district had just discovered an initial $14 million deficit in fiscal year 2023, which had already ended on June 30. In March, Open Architects announced after a review of the school district’s finances a projected shortfall of $19 to $25 million for the current fiscal year. Between fiscal years 2023 and 2025, Brockton Public Schools is projected to have a shortfall totaling about $62.5 million.

Is $125,000 parade price tag accurate?

Sullivan, who is the chair of the school committee, said members couldn’t actively discuss the topic at Tuesday’s meeting since it wasn’t on the agenda, but that he didn’t believe the $125,000 price tag was accurate.

Sullivan asked the school administration to come prepared with a figure on how much it would actually cost to put on the parade when the item is on the agenda.

History of Huntington Parade

The Huntington Parade was first held in 1897 to honor fallen soldiers and veterans. The parade was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned for its 123rd year in 2022.

Enterprise senior reporter Cody Shepard can be reached by email at cshepard@enterprisenews.com.


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