Teachers who wish to remain on Oakland's Castlemont, Fremont or McClymonds high school campuses next year will have to reapply for their jobs -- or, more precisely, for a different position with more responsibilities, a shorter summer and more money for the additional time worked.

The Oakland school district administration informed its employees of the plan late last week, explaining in a memo that the new positions "symbolize our commitment to create a high quality school with high quality teachers that can significantly accelerate student learning ..."

The new position has been named "Accelerated TSA," which is short for teacher-on-special assignment.

Norma Verdugo, who teaches Spanish and Advanced Placement Spanish Literature at the Castlemont Business and Information Technology School, said she wished administrators had been more upfront about the change and that they had involved teachers and parents in discussions earlier.

"It's created a lot of mistrust," Verdugo said. While some of her colleagues see this as an opportunity, she said, "some teachers feel demoralized that they're being asked to reapply because they've been invested in the school for many years."

All three high school campuses underwent dramatic changes less than 10 years ago, when the district broke up a number of large schools into smaller ones, often sharing the same campus. Teachers then, too, had to reapply for their jobs.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funneled millions of dollars into the effort; after the seed money dried up, however, the school reform proved to be financially unsustainable. In 2010, the two schools in the McClymonds building merged back together. The small Castlemont and Fremont schools will soon follow suit, leaving just one comprehensive high school at each campus.

Troy Flint, the district's spokesman, said the district does not plan to take the same staffing approach at other schools in the district. The superintendent decided to do so at these high schools, he said, because he felt it was critical that teachers are committed to the vision of the newly redesigned schools. Enrollment at the three schools has declined sharply in recent years; many families in the area have opted for high schools with better reputations in safer neighborhoods.

"They should be large, comprehensive high schools that are beacons for their neighborhoods, and they're not because we haven't served them well," he said.

While many teachers today go above and beyond what their job description requires, he said, "going beyond the norm will be a requirement of these new positions."

Flint said the teachers' contract allows the district to place teachers-on-special-assignment at schools and that the move "abides by the terms of the contract completely." If a teacher doesn't apply for the 11-month teaching job, or if he or she is not picked for it, he or she will be guaranteed a job at another Oakland school.

But union leaders point to a provision in the contract that allows teachers at closing schools to follow their students to their new schools. Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland Education Association, said the district's plan was a clear contract violation.

"They're not going to get away with this," Olson-Jones said.

Read Katy Murphy's Oakland schools blog at www.IBAbuzz.com/education. Follow her at Twitter.com/katymurphy.