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, where she got her bachelor's degree in American Studies and History. 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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Business
2:39 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Heard of 'Buy One, Give One?' This Austin Company Helps Pay For a Child's Education Instead

Austin-based ESPEROS sells canvas backpacks and totes. The company donates half its profits to developing countries to pay for a child's education for one year.
ESPEROS

Austin resident and UT grad Oliver Shuttlesworth had just returned home from a series of trips to Central America, but he couldn’t shake the stories he heard from people in the region.

“As I visited with the families I was working with, I heard a recurring theme: the desire for their children to receive an education and to create a better future than they enjoyed themselves,” Shuttlesworth says.

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School Attendance
10:24 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Missing One Day of School Costs Your District 38 Dollars

Central Texas school districts and organizations are relaunching a campaign to increase attendance rates at schools.
flickr.com/alamosbasement

The local non-profit, E3 Alliance, has relaunched its Missing School Matters campaign as the new academic year gets underway. It's reminding students why it's important to go to class, especially in Central Texas, where students miss more days of school than their peers across the state in every grade.

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West Plant Explosion
11:32 am
Tue September 3, 2013

VIDEO: The First Festival in West, Texas Since the Explosion

Credit Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Residents of the town of West, Texas came out over the weekend to enjoy their annual Labor Day festival – Westfest. With plenty of beer, sausage, polka music and rides, it’s a celebration of the town’s Czech heritage. 

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Turning the Corner
6:35 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Nearly Half of Dove Springs Elementary Students Are Overweight

Nu Champeng and her son Bodhi, play on the playground at Perez Elementary. Childhood obesity is an issue affecting Dove Springs.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin runs from Ben White to William Cannon, bound by Montopolis and Pleasant Valley on the east, and Interstate 35 on the west. After the Bergstrom Air Force Base closed in the 1990's, it became a community marked by juvenile gang violence, drugs and poverty. While some of that crime has dissipated, Dove Springs still has one of the highest reported crime rates in Travis County. And two-thirds of the neighborhood population is Hispanic, making it one of the most rapidly growing immigrant neighborhoods in Austin. 

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Fort Hood Shootings
10:58 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Hasan Faces Lengthy Appeals Process Before Execution

Hasan has been sentenced to death for killing 13 and wounding more than 30 people at Fort Hood in 2009. But his trial faces an automatic appeals process, which could take years.
Landov Landov

The jury in the court martial of Nidal Hasan sentenced him to death Wednesday. He was convicted of killing 13 people and wounding more 32 in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood. But legal experts say it could still be years before the death sentence is carried out – if at all.

Under military law, Hasan’s case will automatically be appealed because he received a death sentence, even if he doesn’t want to appeal.

But before the case goes to an appeals court, the commanding general of Fort Hood must approve the findings and the sentence. That alone will take a while.

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Education
10:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

How Travis Heights Elementary Could Change Schools in Austin

Travis Heights School gives teachers and administrators more autonomy in making decisions on lesson plans, food choices and the school's budget.
flickr.com/nabewise

More than 86,000 students in the Austin Independent School District returned to school this week. But at Travis Heights Elementary School, teachers, parents and students are starting a new chapter in the school’s history as the first in-district charter school in Austin. 

If the model catches on, the school could also change how things in the district work, with teachers and administrators having more control over curriculum, scheduling, the budget and even what's served in the cafeteria. 

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Fort Hood Shootings
4:53 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Hasan Guilty on All Counts in Fort Hood Shooting Trial

Maj. Hasan during closing arguments. A jury is deliberating whether he is guilty of 13 premeditated murders and 32 attempted premeditated murders at Fort Hood in 2009.
Brigitte Woosley

Update: Army Maj. Nidal Hasan has been found guilty on all counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood. Hasan now faces either life in prison or the death penalty. Sentencing begins Monday. 

Army psychiatrist Hasan acted as his own attorney in the case – but he did so little in his own defense that his standby counsel expressed concern that he was purposely seeking the death penalty.

Sentencing begins Monday. The sentencing phase runs similarly to a trial. The 13 members of the military panel will decide Hasan’s sentence—not the judge. Prosecutors  are expected to call 19 witnesses, including family members. They’re expected to talk about the grief they experienced losing a loved one.

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Fort Hood Shootings
3:15 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Jury Deliberating in Fort Hood Shooting Trial

Maj. Nidal Hasan (foreground, right), at his trial in Killeen, Texas yesterday. Closing arguments in Hasan’s trial are expected today.
Brigitte Woosley

Update: The jury in the court martial of Major Nidal Hasan has begun to deliberate. They're considering whether or not Hasan is guilty of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of premeditated attempted murder in the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. 

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Education
5:01 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

AISD Could Offer Domestic Partner Benefits by the End of the Year

After postponing domestic partner benefits, AISD now says they will ofter domestic partner benefits to all qualified individuals based on a new set of criteria
KUT News

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says the district hopes to offer open enrollment for domestic partner benefits as soon as this fall.

"While we still have a few obstacles to overcome, legal and otherwise, a clear path forward has emerged,” Carstarphen said in a recorded video as part of AISD's annual convocation on Wednesday. “Employees will have the opportunity to add new, qualifying individuals to their coverage as part of a separate enrollment period as soon as October 2013."

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AISD
2:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

AISD's School For Young Men is On Hold Indefinitely

AISD had plans to open a school for young men at its Alternative Learning Center. But the failure of a bond proposition has tabled the project.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Public school begins next week in Austin, but Austin ISD's plan to open a School for Young Men remains in limbo. The district faces many hurdles to open the school, following the failure a bond proposition this May.

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Austin
5:53 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Austin Police Chief Acevedo Responds to Latest Police Shooting

APD Police Chief Art Acevedo talks with the media about last month's fatal officer involved shooting, the third one this year.
Kate McGee, KUT News

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday afternoon he welcomes any investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice into the APD’s policies and tactics after last month's fatal officer-involved shooting.

Last week, Austin City Manger Marc Ott called on the Department of Justice to look at the department's practices involving deadly force.

Acevedo had been out of town when the shooting occurred after the death of his mother.

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Fort Hood Shootings
10:15 am
Mon August 12, 2013

As Hasan Trial Continues, Killeen Looks to Share Its Story

John Crutchfield, Killeen Chamber of Commerce President in a still from Killeen's YouTube Channel. The chamber hosted two media events last week when the trial began.
Killeen Chamber of Commerce

The court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan continues this week at Fort Hood. He’s accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 people in a shooting rampage there in November 2009.

Just beyond the gates of the Army post is in the city of Killeen. Since the start of the military trial, community leaders there have invited media covering the trial to several community events. It’s a chance to highlight the city – even if it’s not under the best of circumstances.

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Fort Hood Shootings
4:04 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Graphic Testimony Continues in Hasan Court Martial

Maj. Nidal Hasan (foreground) at the first day of his court martial in Fort Hood.
Brigitte Woosley

Over 40 witnesses have testified in the court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan. Most of the witnesses today identified Hasan as the shooter. Many had been shot in the attack.

Nearly all of the witnesses testified when the shooting began they thought it was a training exercise. Even as some were hit, they thought they were hit by paintballs, until they noticed blood. They described a rapid firing, a pause as the shooter reloaded, and the continued shots ringing out. The testimony continues to be detailed and graphic.

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Fort Hood Shootings
6:48 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Inside the Fort Hood Courtroom: Quotes from the Hasan Trial

Brigitte Woosley

Today wraps up the first week of testimony in the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 at the Fort Hood Army Post on Nov. 5, 2009.  

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Fort Hood Shootings
6:56 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Ft. Hood Update: Lawyers Say Hasan's Seeking Death Sentence

A sketch of Maj. Nidal Hasan delivering his opening statement yesterday. His standby attorneys have asked to be removed from his trial.
Brigitte Woosley

Update: The trial of Major Nidal Hasan is expected to resume at 9 a.m. after an abrupt recess yesterday. Nidal's council filed a motion to clarify their role in the trial. Listen above to hear what  happened yesterday. 

Update: (12:53 p.m.)  When Maj. Nidal Hasan was wheeled into the courtroom Wednesday morning, the press expected to hear continued testimony in the trial. But it quickly became apparent today would present another twist in an already unprecedented case.

Late Tuesday night, Hasan’s standby council, led by Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, filed a motion to clarify the council’s role in the trial. The council believes Hasan wants the death penalty, and they do not want to provide legal assistance to him if that’s his goal.

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