BROCKTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Students in Brockton are heading back to class Wednesday as community members and parents demand answers about a $14 million budget deficit that prompted officials to unanimously approved an independent external audit and investigation into the shortfall.

Brockton Superintendent of Schools Mike Thomas said last week he takes responsibility for the deficit, admitting he spent too much money on staffing, safety, and transportation.

“I made decisions I needed to make and you have to make them fast sometimes to keep people safe,” Thomas told 7NEWS. “And, again, that caused the overspending.”

“I’m guilty of keeping too many staff members, doing what I thought was right to help kids recover from COVID and provide them the support that they needed and support our staff,” Thomas added.

Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan announced the deficit last week after a four-hour closed-door meeting with school committee members. 

“I am extremely dismayed, collectively we’re all dismayed by the situation and we are committed to ensuring that we will rectify the situation, appoint new leadership and move forward,” Sullivan said. 

Sullivan’s announcement came a day after a spokesperson for the Brockton Public Schools said Thomas informed the school committee that he needed to take an extended medical leave.

School and city officials have decided to hire an independent investigator to look into the 2023 budget and determine what went wrong. 

Many community members say they plan to attend a School Committee meeting Wednesday night to learn more about how its going to impact schools.

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