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Canedo Bids Farewell to School District

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Schools Superintendent Marion Canedo presided over her last Board of Education meeting Wednesday night at City Hall. Canedo is retiring after a 39-year career with the school district.

Canedo has served as superintendent for the past four-and-a-half years leading the school district through very difficult financial times. But now Canedo says she needs to concentrate on family matters and is excited about her retirement.

"It is always difficult to leave anywhere that you've been for 39 years," Canedo said. "And it is actually longer than that because I also went to Buffalo schools for my education. I started school here and I will finish school here."

Canedo says she needs to help care for her elderly mother who lives in California and suffers from Alzheimer's. But she is retiring just as a number of new school board members are set to take the helm next week. Yvonne Hargrave, who has served as Canedo's deputy, has been named interim superintendent. However, Canedo is confident that Hargrave and the board will lead the district as a national search for her replacement takes place.

"As soon as they begin to function as a board of nine they will be in a better position to bring in someone on a permanent basis," Canedo said.

Canedo has issued a number of harsh reforms in order to deal with major deficits -- including teacher layoffs and school closings. But one her major accomplishments as superintendent is the $1 billion joint schools construction project -- a massive undertaking that includes the renovation of all city schools and plans to construct some new buildings. And last night Canedo was pleased to tell the board that the State Legislature has approved funding for phase two of the reconstruction project.

"I was very worried because there were so many issues. That whole piece was so critical," Canedo said. "I appreciate the fact that it was passed. It was urgent that it was passed now in order to keep on schedule. If it wasn't passed, we would have risked losing some of the contractors for the project."

Canedo says a lack of school funding was the hardest part of her job.