School committee votes to hold event

BROCKTON – It initially appeared that a 124-year tradition wouldn’t be taking place in Brockton this year, but the school committee has unanimously decided that the show must go on.

The Huntington Memorial Day Parade will be held in 2024 for the 125th time, but it will occur at some point in June, likely weeks after the holiday that honors fallen service members.

Ward 6 school committee member Joyce Asack made a motion at Wednesday night’s special meeting to keep the parade going and vowed to help organize it to make sure it happens.

“It’s tradition,” she said. “We can’t get rid of tradition.”

More: Brockton Schools may cancel beloved 124-year-old parade to save money. Already too late?

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.

Acting Superintendent of Schools James Cobbs had told the school committee at a May 7 meeting that he had decided not to hold the parade this year because there are no students in the physical Huntington building, as well as the cost being prohibitive.

Cobbs said that City Council President Moises Rodrigues had put a $125,000 price tag on the parade, but Cobbs and Mayor Robert Sullivan didn’t believe that figure.

The Enterprise contacted Rodrigues last week to inquire about where he came up with the Huntington Parade cost, but didn’t receive a call back.

At the May 7 meeting, the mayor asked Cobbs to come prepared for Wednesday night’s meeting with a cost of the parade so the committee could decide how to proceed.

Cobbs said Wednesday that he still didn’t have a cost estimate as he was working with the schools’ transportation department to go back to at least 2018 and figure out the price of the 13 buses to bring students to the parade. Cobbs did at least say that the $125,000 price tag was not correct.

The acting superintendent said at the May 7 meeting that if the parade really did cost over $100,000, that could instead fund two teachers as the school district deals with a shortfall that could total as much as $62.5 million between fiscal years 2023 and 2025.

Cobbs said another issue is the logistics of planning the parade and said it would be impossible for it to be held at this point in May. Memorial Day is Monday, May 27.

The superintendent said the most likely date at this point is June 14, which is Flag Day.

“Once we get the hard dollar amount, I’ll work with the CFO (Troy Clarkson) on the city side to see if there’s any additional money on the city side,” the mayor said.

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


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