Updated: Salmon superintendent quits, teacher takes over as district prepares to run a bond

Updated March 7 with comments from Troy Easterday. 

Former Salmon Superintendent Troy Easterday abruptly resigned last month, walking away as trustees prepare to put a $20 million school bond on the May ballot. 

Chris Born, a history teacher at Salmon High who served as the district’s superintendent from 2015 to 2022, is now acting as interim superintendent. 

Troy Easterday, Salmon School District’s former superintendent, abruptly resigned in January.

Born said Easterday resigned at a regular board meeting on Jan. 22. An executive session was held before the meeting, during which Born said trustees evaluated Easterday’s performance. 

At some point after the public meeting started, Easterday asked trustees to accept his resignation, which they did. 

“The next day he cleaned out his office,” Born said.

In a March 6 interview with EdNews, Easterday said he resigned due to “family health issues” and to be closer to his family in Hagerman. Easterday said he’d been discussing a possible resignation with trustees for months, and that he left on good terms with the Salmon school board.

Easterday resigned on a Monday, and by that Friday, Born had agreed to accept the post. The district also contracted Clark County Superintendent Eileen Holden to assist with the district’s budget and finances (at Born’s request). 

Due to a substitute teacher shortage, Born is still teaching full-time while carrying out his superintendent duties on his lunch and prep hours, and on Fridays (the district is on a four-day week). 

“I have an awesome (district office) staff that is really pulling their weight, and mine too, right at the moment,” he said. 

Born said he plans to retire this summer; the Salmon superintendent position is currently being advertised on edjobsidaho.com.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, Salmon Education Association co-president Frank Garrett told trustees that “a lot of teachers are concerned about the hiring process for the new superintendent” and want a voice on the hiring committee.

Interim Superintendent Chris Born, far left, at the Salmon School Board’s regular February meeting.

Leaders plan to cobble together multiple funding sources for a new school, including state money

At the same time, the district is preparing to ask taxpayers for $20 million to go toward funding a new Pre-K-8 school. Its existing Pioneer Elementary has made statewide and national headlines for its issues, including a cracked foundation, collapsing sewer lines, and outdoor food storage. The Salmon community has denied a dozen consecutive bond failures since 2006, an extraordinary record that’s made the school district a poster child for school facility issues in Idaho. 

The Legislature is currently proposing to help districts with a bill that would put $2 billion into school buildings over the next decade. 

Salmon’s Pioneer Elementary School has a cracked foundation, collapsing sewer pipes, and a kitchen that’s out of code but grandfathered in. Photo: Troy Easterday.

But the bill comes with strings attached that are “many and horrendous” as Born put it at a regular board meeting Wednesday.

Plus, Salmon would only receive $2.6 million over ten years, as compared to the ($140 million) that could go to West Ada School District, Born told EdNews. 

“It isn’t enough to build a school,” Born said. “It isn’t enough to replace the roof on my high school, for heaven’s sake.”

Even so, Born said he still supports the bill because “we need the money.”

If the bond passes, the district would use a combination of the $20 million from taxpayers and money from other potential sources — including donations, the sale of district lands, and state monies — to shore up the rest of the funding for the school. 

Trustees plan to finalize the ballot language for the bond at their next regular meeting on March 18. 

Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro reports from her hometown of Pocatello. Prior to joining EdNews, she taught English at Century High and was a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She has won state and regional journalism awards, and her work has appeared in newspapers throughout the West. Flandro has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and Spanish from the University of Montana, and a master’s degree in English from Idaho State University. You can email her at [email protected] or call or text her at (208) 317-4287.

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