Tehachapi teachers have increasing trepidation as they remain in limbo without a final contract.
That's what union president and negations chair Traci Cunningham told the district at last week's board of trustees' meeting.
Cunningham warned the board that there is a growing deterioration of trust beginning and rapidly expanding between teachers and the district, mostly stemming from not being able to finalize a workable copy of the 2011-2014 Collective Bargaining Agreement that both sides ratified back in October 2012.
It's a contract that appears to contain numerous errors, including mismatched page numbers and language changes in the Memorandum of Understanding, which addresses the number of furlough days that teachers must take during 2013-2014 school year, Cunningham said.
There is also an entire section of the MOU that addresses balancing of classes at each site and grade level among schools, as well as changes regarding teacher committees and the Master Schedule.
But the growing fear among teachers, according to Cunningham, seems to be related more to personnel issues, especially in the area of the contract that addresses when teachers are put on administrative leave.
And while Cunningham was unwilling to talk about what issues teachers were unhappy with, she told the board that teachers want to know why things are different.
"We are concerned that issues seem to be more adversarial than they were in the past," she added. "And by not having a contract, teachers feel that once they give the district what they want, they will be let go."
Other contractual changes include modifications of the duration of teacher lunch periods, summer notification of teacher assignment changes, Special Ed Pre-School teacher's start time and end times and class sizes and the computations the district will use to calculate them.
Final modifications are aimed at reducing the number of staff meetings from two per month to 15 per year, as well as requiring all K-5 teachers to make efforts to conduct parent conferences for all of their students at risk of failing during parent conference week.
Cunningham said the latest collective bargaining agreement draft is better than earlier ones, it still remains something teachers are not willing to sign -- and neither is the district, according to Director of Personnel Tim Beard.
Beard said the delay has been caused by the district's contracted legal firm.
What is needed, he said, is for the firm to cut language out of the original document and replace it with new language from the Tentative Agreement that both teachers and the district agreed to nearly five months ago.
"This should be a simple project and I know it's frustrating," he said. "We are trying to move forward and nothing is being done intentionally. We are working very hard to come up with a finished product."
In the meantime, teachers will continue to grow impatient as they wait, Cunningham said.
"We have had our up and downs over the years and weathered through them," she told the board. "But I really need answers for our teachers."