Kate McGee http://kut.org en Year Since West Fertilizer Plant Explosion is One 'Full of Questioning' http://kut.org/post/year-west-fertilizer-plant-explosion-one-full-questioning <p>It’s been one year since a fertilizer plant exploded in the town of West, Texas – just north of Waco.<br />15 people were killed and more than 150 were injured.&nbsp;Dozens of buildings were also destroyed in the blast.</p><p>A year later there are many signs of recovery and rebuilding in the small town.<br />But,&nbsp;for some, the rebuilding process has been difficult.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">West resident Loretta </span>Volcik<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;says overall, the past year has been filled with one thing: Questioning.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/145217851&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p></p><p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:09:29 +0000 Kate McGee 10246 at http://kut.org Year Since West Fertilizer Plant Explosion is One 'Full of Questioning' Austin School Board Names Paul Cruz Temporary Superintendent http://kut.org/post/austin-school-board-names-paul-cruz-temporary-superintendent <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Austin school trustees unanimously appointed Paul Cruz as interim superintendent Tuesday night. They also accepted Superintendent </span>Meria<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Carstarphen's<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;resignation, as she heads to Atlanta to lead that city's public school system.</span></p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 01:08:24 +0000 Kate McGee 10230 at http://kut.org Austin School Board Names Paul Cruz Temporary Superintendent UT Engineering School Receives $5M from ExxonMobil CEO http://kut.org/post/ut-engineering-school-receives-5m-exxonmobil-ceo <p>Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, <a href="http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/company/about-us/management/rex-w-tillerson" target="_blank">Rex W. Tillerson</a> and his wife, Renda, are donating $5 million to the Cockrell School of Engineering. The money is slated to go toward the <a href="http://www.engr.utexas.edu/eerc" target="_blank">Engineering Education and Research Center</a> which is expected to open in 2017.</p><p>It's a 430,000 square-foot facility that will allow UT Austin to expand its teaching, research and student project space.</p><p>Tillerson&nbsp;graduated from UT Austin in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in&nbsp;civil engineering and serves on the school's Engineering Advisory Board and UT Development Board. &nbsp;His sons, Robert and Michael, are also graduates. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:35:18 +0000 Kate McGee 10214 at http://kut.org UT Engineering School Receives $5M from ExxonMobil CEO Paul Cruz to Lead Austin Schools As Interim Superintendent http://kut.org/post/paul-cruz-lead-austin-schools-interim-superintendent <p><strong>Update: </strong>KUT has learned from multiple sources that&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">AISD&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Chief School&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.austinisd.org/community/hispanic-almanac/paul-cruz" style="line-height: 1.5;">Paul Cruz</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;is expected to be named interim s</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">uperintendent</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;at Tuesday's school board meeting.</span></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 01:03:22 +0000 Kate McGee & Nathan Bernier 10211 at http://kut.org Paul Cruz to Lead Austin Schools As Interim Superintendent 'I Gotta Keep Going:' Boxing Has Dove Springs Students Pushing Ahead http://kut.org/post/i-gotta-keep-going-boxing-has-dove-springs-students-pushing-ahead <p>For the past seven months KUT has <a href="http://kut.org/topic/dove-springs-turning-corner">focused on the Dove Springs neighborhood</a> in southeast Austin. We’ve been looking at issues facing this largely poor, immigrant community: access to healthcare, educational issues, affordable housing –&nbsp;and how organizations and individuals are trying to bring change.</p><p>In October, we went to <a href="http://kut.org/post/video-dove-springs-students-find-discipline-inside-boxing-ring">a boxing ring at Mendez Middle School</a>.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">An after-school program there is teaching the kids boxing as a way to provide some structure after classes let out.</span></p><p>We went back to the ring recently – and found quite a few things had changed.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144189176&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 13:50:17 +0000 Kate McGee 10198 at http://kut.org 'I Gotta Keep Going:' Boxing Has Dove Springs Students Pushing Ahead Obama Eulogizes Soldiers Killed at Fort Hood http://kut.org/post/obama-eulogizes-soldiers-killed-fort-hood <p><strong>Update:&nbsp;</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For the second time in five years, President Obama arrived at Fort Hood to mourn alongside those grieving the loss of their family members in a shooting on post. T</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">hree men were killed and sixteen were injured in the shooting on April 2.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Fort Hood families know death is a part of war: 576 soldiers Fort Hood have died serving in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.</span></p><p>“As an army we accept this a dangerous profession, and all who wear this wonderful uniform and pledge to defend our nation and its way of life, understand they may be called to make that ultimate sacrifice," says<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;John M </span>McCue<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Secretary of the Army.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“But inside these gates, behind these walls, we expect a much different order of things.” Thu, 10 Apr 2014 01:34:16 +0000 Kate McGee 10178 at http://kut.org Obama Eulogizes Soldiers Killed at Fort Hood Austin School Board Mulls Two New Superintendents: One Interim, One Permanent http://kut.org/post/austin-school-board-mulls-two-new-superintendents-one-interim-one-permanent <p class="p1">Austin ISD Superintendent&nbsp;Meria&nbsp;Carstarphen&nbsp;is expected to <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-school-superintendent-carstarphen-leaving-atlanta">leave to head Atlanta's public&nbsp;schools</a> in the coming weeks or months. The Austin&nbsp;School Board is just beginning the&nbsp;search for a new superintendent –&nbsp;and one to serve in the interim.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">On Monday night, they talked about the process to appoint an interim superintendent, as well as hiring an outside company to help find a replacement for&nbsp;Carstarphen.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/143713925&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 15:11:17 +0000 Kate McGee 10148 at http://kut.org Austin School Board Mulls Two New Superintendents: One Interim, One Permanent What It's Like in Killeen After the Latest Fort Hood Shooting http://kut.org/post/what-its-killeen-after-latest-fort-hood-shooting <p>At Fort Hood in Killeen, people are accustomed to the idea of death. At any given point, around ten percent of soldiers from the post are deployed overseas.</p><p>This week, soldiers, families and residents were reminded of <a href="http://kut.org/post/new-details-emerge-fort-hood-shooting" target="_blank">how close to home tragedy can strike</a> – when Ivan Lopez <a href="http://kut.org/post/four-dead-after-shooting-fort-hood" target="_blank">opened fire killing three</a> others and wounding 16 before turning the gun on himself.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/143030426&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 13:34:00 +0000 Kate McGee 10120 at http://kut.org What It's Like in Killeen After the Latest Fort Hood Shooting Austin School Board Begins Long Task to Find New Superintendent http://kut.org/post/austin-school-board-begins-long-task-find-new-superintendent <p>Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and the AISD School Board met Monday for the first time since Carstarphen was named the sole finalist as superintendent for Atlanta's public schools.</p><p>They met late into the evening in executive session to discuss what happens next.</p><p>No decisions were made in the meeting, but board president Vincent Torres told reporters the executive session would serve as a primer for the presumed superintendent search.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/142554693&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 17:56:06 +0000 Kate McGee 10074 at http://kut.org Austin School Board Begins Long Task to Find New Superintendent The Carstarphen Tenure: Austin Schools Superintendent Looks Back http://kut.org/post/carstarphen-tenure-austin-schools-superintendent-looks-back <p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Editor's note</em></strong><em style="line-height: 1.5;">: Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen&nbsp;is leaving to become Atlanta's school superintendent. <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-school-superintendent-carstarphen-leaving-atlanta">Read more about Carstarphen's departure and what that means for AISD</a></em><em style="line-height: 1.5;">.</em></p><p><em>In December 2013, on the eve of what would be Carstarphen's final State of the District address, KUT looked back at her time leading AISD. </em></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>Original story</strong> (Dec. 3, 2013):&nbsp;</span>Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s releases her <a href="http://www.austinisd.org/sod">2013 State of the District</a> today – a movie where the superintendent highlights the district’s achievements and challenges over the past year.</p><p>It’s Carstarphen’s fifth State of the District since she became superintendent in 2009.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/122974424&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:34:11 +0000 Kate McGee 9300 at http://kut.org The Carstarphen Tenure: Austin Schools Superintendent Looks Back Can You Opt Your Child Out of Texas Standardized Tests? http://kut.org/post/can-you-opt-your-child-out-texas-standardized-tests <p>Standardized testing in Texas begins today and some parents across the state are choosing to opt their children out of the testing process.</p><p>Last week, a Waco family made news when they publicly told their school district they did not want their fourth grader taking the state tests because they were morally opposed to testing.&nbsp;</p><p>Under state law, that's illegal.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/141931313&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:56:00 +0000 Kate McGee 10059 at http://kut.org Can You Opt Your Child Out of Texas Standardized Tests? Austin School Superintendent Carstarphen Leaving for Atlanta http://kut.org/post/austin-school-superintendent-carstarphen-leaving-atlanta <p>Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen&nbsp;has been named as the sole finalist for the superintendent&nbsp;job in Atlanta, Georgia.</p><p>She was chosen from a list of four candidates for the position.</p><p>Carstarphen came to Austin ISD in 2009. The district has faced significant challenges during her tenure, including $60 million in funding cuts after the 2011 Legislative session.</p><p>In a statement today, Carstarphen said Austin had risen to meet those challenges.</p><p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 02:12:40 +0000 Kate McGee & Matt Largey 10050 at http://kut.org Austin School Superintendent Carstarphen Leaving for Atlanta Texas Representatives Hear Update On HB 5 Implementation http://kut.org/post/texas-representatives-hear-update-hb-5-implementation <p>Lawmakers were at the Texas Capitol Wednesday talking about the implementation of House Bill 5, the bill that changes graduation requirements and reduces the number of end of course exams for high school students&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The meeting gave lawmakers an opportunity to express concerns with the new standards, while teachers, superintendents and education officials gave a status update on implementation.</p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 23:48:47 +0000 Kate McGee 10045 at http://kut.org Texas Representatives Hear Update On HB 5 Implementation Another Step in Texas Program Allowing School Marshals to Pack Guns http://kut.org/post/another-step-texas-program-allowing-school-marshals-pack-guns <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The groups that will train Texans in the state's controversial school marshals program – allowing an undercover, armed staff member on school campuses – gathered in San Marcos today.</span></p><p>"You’re not going to see someone walking around looking like Joe SWAT, but a normal teacher," said Boake&nbsp;Slape, one of the 18 law enforcement trainers at the training facility. "You won’t even know. But if a problem is going to happen, they can respond much quicker than a police department or sheriff’s department can." &nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/141234752&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></p><p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 21:30:38 +0000 Kate McGee 10026 at http://kut.org Another Step in Texas Program Allowing School Marshals to Pack Guns Equal Pay Debate Emerges in Texas Governor's Race http://kut.org/post/equal-pay-debate-emerges-texas-governors-race <p>Republican candidate for Texas Governor Greg Abbott says he would not sign a bill that would make it easier for women to bring equal pay discrimination suits.</p><p>It's the&nbsp;latest development in an emerging debate over equal pay between Democrats and Republicans.</p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 22:08:05 +0000 Kate McGee 10001 at http://kut.org Equal Pay Debate Emerges in Texas Governor's Race