‘No wrongdoing, no money missing’: Mass. superintendent on leave speaks out
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‘No wrongdoing, no money missing’: Mass. superintendent on leave speaks out

The Brockton School Committee voted Friday to approve the appointing of an acting superintendent amid a multimillion deficit revealed late Thursday by the city’s mayor. Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan announced Thursday night that the superintendent of schools, Michael Thomas, was on medical leave after it was brought to the school committee’s attention that an approximate $14 million deficit exists for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.Sullivan made the announcement following a four-hour emergency executive session of the Brockton School Committee on Thursday.On Friday afternoon, the school committee voted to promote Deputy Superintendent James Cobbs to the role of acting superintendent.Cobbs has been a member of the school district since 2013, serving as principal of Edison Academy from 2013 to 2021 and principal of Champion High School from August 2014 to November 2015. From 2019 to 2022, he served as the executive director of operations of Brockton Public Schools. Cobbs began his career in education in 2001 as an assistant principal, summer school coordinator and teacher at the Curley Middle School in Jamaica Plain.The district says Cobbs is a military veteran who served as an executive officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, major, commander of an electrical power line unit, combat engineering, transportation officer, and electrician. Video below: ‘No wrongdoing, no money missing;’ Brockton superintendent on leave speaks outSullivan said late Thursday night that Thomas informed the school committee that he would be out on an extended medical leave. Thomas did not attend the emergency executive session Thursday night.When WCVB’s John Atwater spoke with Thomas on Friday, he said he was dealing with “very high blood pressure.””There’s no mismanagement,” Thomas said. “There’s no funds missing.””I don’t apologize for the decisions I made ’cause I made those in the best interests of kids and staff,” Thomas said. “But, you know, I never want to leave the city of Brockton and the taxpayers in a bad situation, so you know, for that, I’m sorry.” “For what I’ve done for those kids, if I end up losing my job, I feel good about what I’ve done for the kids of Brockton and their families,” Thomas said. Video below: Brockton mayor addresses school district’s large deficitThe first day of classes for Brockton Public Schools students in grades 1-12 is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 6.”The 2,100-plus unionized educators of the Brockton Union Coalition — the (Brockton Education Association), (Brockton Education Support Professionals Association), and (Independent Brockton Administrative Assistants and Technical Employees Association) —are committed to ensuring that students have a positive experience as they return to the classroom. The students are our top priority, and it is vital that the new school year begins smoothly and positively for them,” reads a joint statement from the presidents of Brockton’s three educators’ unions. “The BEA, BESPA, and IBAA-TEA will continue to advocate for adequate staffing to meet the needs of students, and our members will work with families and district administration to provide our students with both the opportunities and support they need for success.”Thomas, a 1987 graduate of Brockton High School, oversaw the high school’s Physical Education Department before becoming an assistant housemaster and, eventually, housemaster at Brockton High.He then became a district administrator in 2010 and served as interim principal of Brockton High School and the executive director of operations from January to June 2013.In 2013, then-superintendent Kathleen Smith chose Thomas as her deputy superintendent. When Smith retired in July 2019, Thomas was tabbed interim superintendent of Brockton Public Schools before the Brockton School Committee offered him the full-time role following a unanimous vote in November 2019.The School Committee voted in June to make Thomas interim principal of Brockton High for the 2023-24 academic year, during which he would still serve as superintendent of the school district.

The Brockton School Committee voted Friday to approve the appointing of an acting superintendent amid a multimillion deficit revealed late Thursday by the city’s mayor.

Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan announced Thursday night that the superintendent of schools, Michael Thomas, was on medical leave after it was brought to the school committee’s attention that an approximate $14 million deficit exists for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.

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Sullivan made the announcement following a four-hour emergency executive session of the Brockton School Committee on Thursday.

dr. james cobbs

WCVB

Dr. James Cobbs

On Friday afternoon, the school committee voted to promote Deputy Superintendent James Cobbs to the role of acting superintendent.

Cobbs has been a member of the school district since 2013, serving as principal of Edison Academy from 2013 to 2021 and principal of Champion High School from August 2014 to November 2015. From 2019 to 2022, he served as the executive director of operations of Brockton Public Schools.

Cobbs began his career in education in 2001 as an assistant principal, summer school coordinator and teacher at the Curley Middle School in Jamaica Plain.

The district says Cobbs is a military veteran who served as an executive officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, major, commander of an electrical power line unit, combat engineering, transportation officer, and electrician.

Video below: ‘No wrongdoing, no money missing;’ Brockton superintendent on leave speaks out

Sullivan said late Thursday night that Thomas informed the school committee that he would be out on an extended medical leave. Thomas did not attend the emergency executive session Thursday night.

When WCVB’s John Atwater spoke with Thomas on Friday, he said he was dealing with “very high blood pressure.”

“There’s no mismanagement,” Thomas said. “There’s [sic] no funds missing.”

“I don’t apologize for the decisions I made ’cause I made those in the best interests of kids and staff,” Thomas said. “But, you know, I never want to leave the city of Brockton and the taxpayers in a bad situation, so you know, for that, I’m sorry.”

“For what I’ve done for those kids, if I end up losing my job, I feel good about what I’ve done for the kids of Brockton and their families,” Thomas said.

Video below: Brockton mayor addresses school district’s large deficit

The first day of classes for Brockton Public Schools students in grades 1-12 is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 6.

“The 2,100-plus unionized educators of the Brockton Union Coalition — the (Brockton Education Association), (Brockton Education Support Professionals Association), and (Independent Brockton Administrative Assistants and Technical Employees Association) —are committed to ensuring that students have a positive experience as they return to the classroom. The students are our top priority, and it is vital that the new school year begins smoothly and positively for them,” reads a joint statement from the presidents of Brockton’s three educators’ unions. “The BEA, BESPA, and IBAA-TEA will continue to advocate for adequate staffing to meet the needs of students, and our members will work with families and district administration to provide our students with both the opportunities and support they need for success.”

Thomas, a 1987 graduate of Brockton High School, oversaw the high school’s Physical Education Department before becoming an assistant housemaster and, eventually, housemaster at Brockton High.

He then became a district administrator in 2010 and served as interim principal of Brockton High School and the executive director of operations from January to June 2013.

In 2013, then-superintendent Kathleen Smith chose Thomas as her deputy superintendent. When Smith retired in July 2019, Thomas was tabbed interim superintendent of Brockton Public Schools before the Brockton School Committee offered him the full-time role following a unanimous vote in November 2019.

Brockton Public Schools Superintendent Michael Thomas speaks with members of the media during a news conference outside of the city's Therapeutic Day School in Brockton, Massachusetts on March 16, 2023. Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan (left) listens in.

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Brockton Public Schools Superintendent Michael Thomas speaks with members of the media during a news conference outside of the city’s Therapeutic Day School in Brockton, Massachusetts on March 16, 2023. Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan (left) listens in.

The School Committee voted in June to make Thomas interim principal of Brockton High for the 2023-24 academic year, during which he would still serve as superintendent of the school district.

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