Wednesday, April 30, 2008
THANK YOU Lindsey Tippins for a job well done!
By Don McKee
Lindsey Tippins has been an anchor for the Cobb school board during some of its stormiest times.
Now after 12 years on the board, he has decided against seeking another term.
It can be said of Tippins that he has steadfastly represented the best interests of the people of this county. His level head, common sense and business acumen have been invaluable assets for students, parents and other citizens of Cobb.
Tippins, along with veteran member Betty Gray, stood up for the taxpayers to challenge then-Superintendent Joe Redden's plan to spend $100 million plus on take-home laptops for students. Tippins also opposed the goofy consultant-inspired governance plan for the board.
Tippins showed the kind of leadership Cobb needed and will need in the future. Now he's had enough. Although he's only 58, he's ready to retire from his long service to the schools. He has some other very important things to do.
"I want to spend time with my kids and grandchildren, travel with my wife," he told me by cell phone yesterday as he drove to the hospital to see his brand new granddaughter. She is Mary Scott, born to Tippins' daughter, Rebekah (Mrs. Billy) Resh. Her big brother is William, 16 months old. Now Tippins can take more time to enjoy being with them and his son, Nathan.
Of his long tenure on the school board, Tippins said: "At times it's been stressful, but one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."
He was asked what the voters should look for in choosing new board members.
"People ought to pay a lot of attention to the school board," he said. "Where it goes is, of course, dependent on the people who are elected."
Tippins said voters should realize "the school system is the largest employer in Cobb County." His concerns about the business aspects of the district led him to run 12 years ago.
"The real role of the board is to oversee the expertise and resources, both financial and personnel, of the school system," he went on. "To the extent the board has this expertise to make those decisions, that will determine how successful it is."
Just to drive home the point, Tippins said it in a different way:
"The quality of governance people receive depends on the abilities of the people they elect to represent them. People ought to take a long hard look at proven abilities compared to promises made."
Tippins also talked about one of the biggest challenges for the school board: state and federal laws requiring certain things that cost money but not providing the necessary funds.
Local schools don't need more unfunded mandates, he said. And he's right.
Betty Gray, from her long-term vantage point, said she was disappointed in Tippins' decision to not run again. She told the MDJ, "This district owes a sincere thanks to Lindsey."
And she is right. On behalf of the people of Cobb, thank you, Lindsey Tippins.