No. 2 executive at EAI resigns, cites rift with founder

November 01, 1995|By James Bock | James Bock,SUN STAFF

The No. 2 executive of Education Alternatives Inc. has resigned, just as the Minnesota company that manages nine Baltimore public schools is struggling to sort out its future.

William F. Goins, EAI's $300,000-a-year chief operating officer, tendered his "voluntary resignation" effective Nov. 30, the company announced yesterday.

"Bill did a lot of good things for the company," said Chris Bauer, an EAI spokeswoman. "We learned a lot from him, and we wish him the best as he moves on."

Mr. Goins told Bloomberg News Service that he had differences over leadership style and vision with John T. Golle, the company's founder, chairman and chief executive officer.

"Our compasses just pointed in different directions," Mr. Goins was quoted as saying.

Neither Mr. Goins nor Mr. Golle could be reached for comment yesterday.

Walter G. Amprey, Baltimore schools superintendent, said Mr. Goins' resignation came as a "surprise." He said EAI had not informed him of the development.

"The timing isn't real good because we're negotiating things right now, and this probably adds to the anxiety on both sides," Dr. Amprey said.

Ramon Harris, who manages EAI's Baltimore operation, called Mr. Goins' resignation "a real loss, most definitely." But he said the Baltimore office would be unaffected.

Mr. Goins is the second high executive to leave EAI in less than six months.

President David Bennett, a former St. Paul, Minn., superintendent of schools, resigned June 30 to form his own consulting company.

But John McLaughlin, editor of Education Industry Report, which tracks the school privatization movement, said EAI still had "a lot of talent."

"I don't see this as anything that's a death knell for the organization by any stretch of the imagination," Mr. McLaughlin said. "Even though it has had several weeks of bad news, the company has a future in the emerging education industry."

Education Alternatives, a pioneer in private management of public schools, has run into serious problems in the two cities where it holds large contracts.

Baltimore has demanded that EAI accept a $10 million reduction in its $44 million contract to manage nine schools and provide services at three others.

In Hartford, Conn., where EAI is under contract to manage the entire school system, an anti-EAI slate is trying to win a majority on the school board in an election next week.

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