Michigan Teacher-Reservist II

As noted in this post, I was skeptical about the Detroit Free Press report of a schoolteacher-reservist having to pay his own substitute. Turns out, I was right:

The salary and benefit arrangement worked out by Kenowa Hills goes above and beyond what the law requires and what other area school districts and private employers are doing. The law only requires employers to provide unpaid military leave. Since salaries in the public schools usually exceed military stipends, military personnel called to duty often lose funds as a result of their service. Other area schools either place personnel on unpaid military leave or make up the difference between their military pay and their school salary.

In Kenowa Hills, Bernhardt was given the option to receive both his school salary and his military salary through an arrangement that allowed for coverage of his class using a substitute teacher. Other districts and employers do not allow this since the person serving makes more money by being gone than by being at their place of employment. In the case of Bernhardt, during his 10-day absence from work, he will make his normal Kenowa Hills biweekly school salary of $3,484 plus an additional $573 as a result of his service of two weeks on Naval active duty.


“In the case of Barry Bernhardt, the news media has made it sound as if the teacher is getting penalized, but the people who are writing this do not understand the situation. When we worked out this arrangement with Barry, he indicated he was satisfied. In fact, he expressed his appreciation for the school district’s willingness to go above and beyond what the law requires. He acknowledged this arrangement was made so that he and his family would not be penalized for his service to our nation.”

“It is unfortunate that our desire to support a teacher in service to his country has been distorted and twisted. Make no mistake about it, the Kenowa Hills School District has and will continue to support those who make sacrifices for our country!”

Hat tip: Blackfive

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Sorry, meant to ping my link to Beltway Traffic Jam, not this one.