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Missouri Research Consortium Receives $20 Million Grant
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), August 10, 2014 - The National Science Foundation has awarded a $20 million grant to fund a five-year, multi-institutional project to study climate variability and its potential agricultural, ecological and social impacts in Missouri.

"The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community" project received funding from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), a program initiated by the U.S. Congress to support fundamental research, education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and workforce development in areas relevant to the economy.

"Missouri's economy is driven by our diverse natural and agricultural ecosystems, which are affected by climate variability," said John Walker, Curators Professor of Biological Sciences and director of the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri and principal investigator of the project. "The Missouri Transect project, which capitalizes on our state's core research strength in the plant sciences, will model and predict short- and long-term changes in climate and determine the impact on these important plant ecosystems, as well as on the communities that rely on them."

The institutions that are participating in the project include all four University of Missouri System campuses-MU, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and University of Missouri-St. Louis-the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center, Washington University, Lincoln University, the St. Louis Science Center and St. Louis University.

The project will draw on each institution's research expertise in plant sciences, atmospheric and environmental sciences, bioinformatics engineering, social sciences, and or science outreach and education. The project is made up of four interdisciplinary teams in the areas of climate, plant biology, community resilience and education/outreach.

The project is made up of four interdisciplinary teams in the areas of climate, plant biology, community resilience and education/outreach.

The Missouri Transect will support workforce development in three areas: undergraduate and graduate education; bioinformatics training for women, minorities and people with disabilities; and job training.


Constitutional Amendment Relating to Teacher Performance Evaluation Systems Certified for November Ballot
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), August 10, 2014 - Secretary of State Jason Kander has announced that one initiative petition has been certified to appear on the November 2014 ballot

A Constitutional Amendment to Article IX, Relating to Teacher Performance Evaluation Systems, 2014-024, will appear on the November 4, 2014 general election ballot as Constitutional Amendment 3.

The official ballot title reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;

require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;

require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and

prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings impacting each district.


Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposalŐs performance evaluation requirements.

One initiative petition was not certified for the November 2014 ballot due to an insufficient number of valid signatures. The constitutional amendment related to early voting had a sufficient number of valid signatures in two of the six required congressional districts.


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