San Luis Coastal to help its top exec buy a home

December 20, 2016
Eric Prater

Eric Prater

The San Luis Coastal Unified School District is giving its superintendent a $950,000 loan to buy a home. San Luis Coastal’s school board unanimously approved the loan at a meeting last week.

However, some teachers and members of the public question whether the under rate loan is a gift of public funds at a time the district is increasing class sizes to save money.

Superintendent Eric Prater, who makes a base salary of about $215,000 and receives nearly $300,000 a year in total pay, will receive a fixed-rate, 30 year loan from the district. The loan has a 2.6  percent rate that matches the federal interest rate for long term investments for Dec. 2016.

Nevertheless, on Thursday, federal loan agency Freddie Mac issued a report stating the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.16. The Wall Street Journal reported the average “plain-vanilla,” 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.38 percent on Thursday.

Mortgage rates surged by .76 percentage points since Election Day, according to the Wall Street Journal report. Mortgage rates are expected to keep rising, due in part to the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates. The Fed raised the federal-funds target rate on Wednesday, just hours after the district approved Prater’s loan.

The loan will also allow Prater to avoid making a down payment on a house.

By issuing the loan, San Luis Coastal intends to guarantee Prater will remain with the district for the long-term. But, it only mandates that Prater stay with the district until June 30, 2021, and it contains an opt-out clause allowing Prater to leave before then if he pays the principal and interest within two years of his departure.

District officials say, with Diablo Canyon Power Plant due to close in 2024-2025, San Luis Coastal needs to maintain strong and stable leadership. The school board also wants to reward Prater for delivering a successful 2014 bond measure and for negotiating a $36 million settlement deal with PG&E.

San Luis Coastal will lose about $8 million a year from the Diablo Canyon closure.

Prater told other media that he had been renting, and his landlord is selling the home in which he has been living. Prater wants to own a home in the San Luis Obispo area, but he says the housing market is incredibly challenging.

In 2015, Prater received $295,064 in total compensation, according to Transparent California. His earnings significantly increased from the previous year in which he received $236,555 in total pay.

From 2014 to 2015, Prater’s base salary increased from $191,730 to $211,053. His benefits rose from $27,150 to $65,315.

Additionally, Prater regularly receives about $15,000 to $20,000 a year in money classified as “other pay.” That could include bonuses, incentive pay and car allowances.

Prater’s renegotiated contract states he is entitled to approximately $50,000 in raises and tax-deferred savings over the next five years. Prater is foregoing the money, but instead he is entitled to receive a $50,000 write-off on his mortgage, if he remains superintendent until July 2021.

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Not surprised.

I met Mr. Prater when he was first given his current job.

I believe that he and the Paso Robles guy are TOOOOOOOOOOO slick.

I believe that all this $$$$$$$ being given to government employees is a sickness of our culture shift on what is real and fake.

Everyone wants to get paid by the taxpayer but the taxpayer does not get anything in return.

The mathematics taught in this county SUCKS

I would demote them all and hire people who believe in hardwork as students not everyone gets to learn COMMON CORE

Where was Prater when COMMON CORE stole our children’s future.

FIRE them all and who lives here take those jobs…..They already have homes!!!!!

Bottom line…anyone going to the next school board meeting to raise H_LL? Writing all the comments here are great, however, it’s when the elected officials of that school board see the

‘whites of the eyes’ of the taxpayers that they get the message!!!!!

And don’t forget, SLOCOG’s Executive Director just got another 5% increase in his salary…but we don’t have money to fix the roads. Just a reminder, the elected local reps who make up the SLOCOG board voted this increase gladly, but it’s not their money, it’s yours.

Oh yes, and the folks who are on Social Security got a hefty .03% increase!

Will say this…the voters have no one to blame but themselves. They vote for these school bonds thinking its for the children. WRONG! Except for Measure J, I believe every local bond issue was passed.

Absolutely right beacon. The school board meeting room should be standing room only at the next meeting. I would begin petitions to throw out whomever came up with this gem of an idea, and anyone who voted in favor of it. I’d have everyone I know at that meeting, holding a sign. It’s time these public servants took better care of our money!

I disagree with the decision to give the loan to Dr. Prater…very much so, in fact. However, when listening to Dave Congalton’s show about this topic, I hoped that he’d have someone on from the mortgage industry, perhaps someone from the Board of Trustees, perhaps even Dr. Prater himself. I may have missed these folks on the show (admittedly I have a limited window in which to listen and have not checked the podcast…is there still one?)

Instead, the only voices I heard on the show were Dave, the callers, and Ms. Tacker (again). While I applaud her for consistently finding the time to weigh in on a plethora of subjects, I feel that this was not an appropriate booking. I may have missed the portion where her knowledge of the inner workings of the mortgage indsutry or school board budgets were offered up, but I am asking an honest question…What knowledge base does Ms. Tacker pull from in order to speak on this subject? I’ve heard her on the show speaking on all different subjects, and she always does her research, but again…Where are the people who can actually explain this from an experience-informed standpoint, not a google search, a load of free time and an apparently never-ending reservoir of speculation for all things budgetary?

I find it interesting that Ms. Tacker is such a frequent guest (with calls from a certain “Jeff in Los Osos” filling the air waves each time she’s on). Is there no one else willing to speak on the mic? Does she know this much about all of these various topics? I would recommend she run for office to see if she can put all this knowledge to work for the good, but alas…the people have spoken on that matter.

Hopefully, she (along with the other regular commenters at public meetings, etc.) can work to improve the tone of the debate…I often find myself in agreement with the premise of these comments, but cannot support them due to the patronizing, accusatory and (sometimes) rude tone in which they are offered.

With the current tone and cycling on-air guests, the show has become a bit of an echo chamber…The same voices citing the same issues with no real progress. It’s unfortunate because I think it is a wonderful concept and a gem to have local topics discussed. There just seems to be so much anger, vitriol, mistrust and hand wringing over every little issue, while other, larger issues seem to go by the wayside.

You all do a much better job than I could do, I assure you…I just hope a bit of constructive criticism from the outside will be taken in the good-natured and well-intentioned manner in which it is offered.


Perhaps you should listen to the podcast.

“Jeff in Los Osos” has been a real estate broker since 1980. He has tremendous knowledge of the mortgage industry. Several others who called in nailed the argument on the “low-interest” nature of the loan and how much more a “jumbo loan” would cost you or I.

Walter Milar, a school board member in favor of the decision, called in to the show along with 12+ others, so many in fact, Dave held me over for 20 more minutes so more calls could be taken.

I am a SLCUSD alumni, so are 3 of my 4 kids and our littlest still attends.

I was one a very few show spoke out on this when the news became public. In fact, originally, Dave disagreed with me, saying he’d seen this type of thing in the UC system.

While I may not have been elected in my recent run, I stand on my track record and will change nothing I do as an activist.



Social Security is being increased by .03% in 2017 based on the cost of living.

What’s with the great disparity here? Simply do the math. T

This is so wrong.

I am having a problem here. With a salary of $212,000 he is grossing around $18,000 a month yet he can’t afford to provide a down payment nor make payments at 4 percent on a house?.Is this really the kind of financial managerial expertise we want running our school district?

Who approved the house he wants to buy? Was it appraised? Where is it? Is this another secret deal?

This is a terrible gift of public funds. Next thing you know every school employee will want the same deal because hey it’s expensive to live here.


I thought Measure D was to build schools! How stupid of me!

Who is going to pay the property tax or is it going to be forgiven?As Howard Jarvis said this is the most corrupt county in the state.

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