Kate McGee

Education Reporter

Kate is the education reporter at KUT, covering the Austin Independent School District, public, and higher education in Texas. She got her public radio start at Fordham University's WFUV. Her voice has been heard on the East and West coasts as a reporter and producer for WNYC and KUNR in Reno, Nevada. She has also appeared on NPR's Morning Edition,  All Things Considered, The Takeaway  and more. In her spare time, Kate enjoys discovering new music, traveling and trying local beers. 

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Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin School Board is considering a plan for the future of its facilities. It comes with a $4.6 billion price tag over the next 25 years. That's a lot of money for a district with a tight budget, and it raises questions about how quickly the proposal could be implemented if the state doesn't change its school finance system. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin School Board is continuing to discuss a plan for the future of the district’s school buildings. At first, that plan included school closures, but the latest version, offered last night by a district committee, doesn’t close any schools.

Instead, it puts those campuses on something called a “target utilization plan," a fancy way to buy these schools time to boost enrollment before the district considers closing them. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

It’s no secret that Austin ISD is strapped for cash.

The district often blames that on the state’s school finance system, which requires it to send hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes back to the state. So, in an effort to save a little money, the Austin School Board has proposed changing how school board trustees are elected.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

At the beginning of KUT's 12th and Chicon project, we told the story of Anderson High School — a beacon of the black community in East Austin until its forced closure in 1971 as part of desegregation. But Anderson wasn’t the only neighborhood school to close. Kealing Junior High School did, too. It was reopened in the mid-1980s as a neighborhood school with a magnet program, but the tensions of the past still linger in the school’s hallways.

Kenisha Coburn is trying to change that. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Colette Pierce Burnette didn’t have the smoothest of landings when she arrived in Austin just over two years ago.

She fell in the Atlanta airport and was dependent on ride-hailing apps to get around for the first couple of weeks. To add insult to injury, most of her drivers didn’t know how to get to her new workplace, Huston-Tillotson University, where she was taking over as the school’s president.

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