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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  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    Do the Board members get paid for their monthly meeting and do they get a family medical benefit package too? My iffy medical package for two is valued at $2200 per month, for that benefit being a Board member is a deal but we don’t want to talk about that and it was probably approved a long time ago so there, right? Now we know why the schools hate Prop 13.

    (20) 20 Total Votes - 20 up - 0 down
    • Kaiser Bill says:

      Yes, most School board members and City Councilors get free health benefits.This is NOT CHEAP, and its not worth it to the taxpayers to give part time politicians free health benefits. The County Supervisors, a full time job, they deserve health benefits. School board members and city councilors who go to meetings twice a week? NO, they don’t deserve free bennies.

      (15) 15 Total Votes - 15 up - 0 down
  2. SLOBIRD says:

    What makes this man so special that 1) he needs to live in a $million$ home in our area, 2) the taxpayers are having to pay for this obscene purchase, 3) he can’t even afford a down payment and 4) 30 year interest rate of 2.6 which is below the current rate of 4.16 without the down payment.

    Eric Prater SUPERINTENDENT
    San Luis Coastal Unified, 2015

    Regular pay Other pay Total Total pay &
    benefits benefits
    $211,053.04 $0.00 $18,696.70 $65,314.57 $295,064.31

    We continue to hear the “retain the best”. Let’s all be honest, NO ONE is worth retaining when the day is all over. This is a disgusting situation for the taxpayers and the Board Members should not be re-elected come the next election. We are going to lose major funding in the next few years due to Diablo and yet, already the Board is making decisions where the money is going. What does this say about the teachers, principles, etc.? You are obviously not worth you benefits or contributions to the school system. The people at the top who make the most always seem to come away with the most. I say release and hire someone that once the job with no special benefits. We pay for his car, his retirement, his healthcare, and a IRA Contribution. He does have the keys to the school to say the lease. He is right up there with SLOCOG, Air Quality Control Board, etc. and all their high salaries and benefits.

    Bring on the Bonds you will be requesting of the taxpayers in the next few years. We will send the same message we sent SLOCOG! Let him earn that special salary and benefit and figure out how to save the district that always thought they were better then the other districts because they were “SLO”…

    (24) 24 Total Votes - 24 up - 0 down
  3. standup says:

    Time to fire every last one of the corrupt board members who would approve this. The money should be for the kids by some dumb smuck who already gets 300k per year. Just insane.

    (26) 26 Total Votes - 26 up - 0 down
  4. SamLouis says:

    What SLCUSD administrators is paid is absolutely obscene:

    http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/school-districts/san-luis-obispo/san-luis-coastal-unified/

    A principal of a high school makes $188K/year? Really?

    The “executive director of support services” (WTH is that?) is paid $189K/year?

    The director of facilities and transportation is paid $177K?

    The next time I hear any whining about the revenue loss from Diablo closing, and a need for more taxes I’m going to respond with a metaphorical middle finger. Get your own house in order, SLCUSD School Board!

    (50) 50 Total Votes - 50 up - 0 down
  5. Grrr says:

    Poor Baby! Can’t afford to buy a million dollar house on $300K/yr.? Neither can the lion’s share of the residents.

    Really…. the guy couldn’t possibly live within his means? Get serious. I agree. Those that approved this need to loan the guy the money themselves, out of their deep pockets, not our pockets.

    The loan is absolutely absurd!

    (46) 48 Total Votes - 47 up - 1 down
  6. taxpayer says:

    OK. This is a terrible idea. Does anyone remember the housing crash of 2007? What if it happens again? What if Prater decides that he doesn’t want to continue paying when the house goes down in value? Does the district foreclose on their own Superintendent of Schools? Does the district take a loss? He should be paying over 5% and he should be putting 20% down like everyone else.

    (47) 47 Total Votes - 47 up - 0 down
  7. r0y says:

    A single arrest would really help curb this foolish, idiotic, and (unfortunately) very common misconception of those who allegedly serve at the behest of the tax-paying public. I would go to the board that approved this and arrest one of them. Charge them with misappropriation of public funds.

    It is not the school board’s job to be in the loan business. Period. End of discussion.

    (61) 67 Total Votes - 64 up - 3 down
  8. 1965buick says:

    you have to pick your battles in life. i certainly hope there is someone|people wuth energy to battle this. it is a dangerous precedent. i can hear the other districts now: ‘comparable compensation…’

    (31) 33 Total Votes - 32 up - 1 down

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