BEEBE — The Beebe School District decided to stop waiting for a misdemeanor criminal case against one of its administrators to be resolved after paying her $209,002.76 in salary and benefits while on administrative leave.
Beebe Superintendent Dr. Chris Nail said he brought Dr. Brandy Dillin back June 23.
“She had been on paid leave for over two years and as far as we can tell, there is no end in sight with the court case,” Nail said, “and she is director of special programs — she serves special education students — so we just felt like it was best for her students to be back in that role.”
Dillin was set to become full-time special programs director for the 2018-19 school year before being put on paid leave May 21, 2018, while still officially the Beebe Middle School principal.
She and her husband, Mickey, were arrested May 17 of that year and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a class A misdemeanor and violating the city and state’s local hosting police, a class C misdemeanor. They are alleged to have hosted a party at their residence, knowing it to have underage drinking and use of marijuana by teenagers.
The couple's son, Brandon, also was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol.
No court date has been reset in the Dillins’ case, White County District Court-Beebe Division Deputy Clerk Taylor Baldwin said in an email last last week, “and we have not received any further documents at this time.”
While on leave, Dillin was paid $9,173.00 in salary and benefits for the 2017-18 school year, $107,930.40 in 2018-19 and $91,899.36 in 2019-20.
When contacted by The Daily Citizen on Monday, Dillin said she could not discuss the court case, but “it feels pretty good to be back.” During her time away, Dillin graduated from Arkansas State University in December 2019 with her doctorate degree.
“We are gearing up for a good school year,” said Dillin, who also has been named virtual administrator by the district. Nail said Dillin volunteered for the position, created because of COVID-19 guidelines for returning to school this fall, taking it on with her other roles.
“It is one of those things we may have to find a standalone person next year depending on how popular it gets,” he said.
More than 500 students have signed up for Beebe’s virtual program for the new school year, starting Aug. 24. Dillin said parents will be contacted about a mandatory face-to-face meeting about the virtual program and it will be done building by building. She said all guidelines would be followed for the meetings, including social distancing.
The misdemeanor cases against the Dillins went to trial in September, but the trial did not reach a conclusion due to technical issues that came up with the playing of a video.
Specially appointed District Judge Chaney Taylor told The Daily Citizen in December that “speedy trial is not an issue” because the case already has been taken to trial.
During the September 2019 trial, five witnesses were called to the stand along with Detective Misty Goss from the White County Sheriff’s Office, who testified about her investigation.
Goss had worked for the Beebe Police Department and arrested the Dillins. In her investigation, she interviewed Jayden Webb and Jayden Clubb, juveniles who were reportedly present at the party. Clubb’s mother, Sheila Johnson, also was interviewed. A video was provided to Goss which showed “juveniles at the party consuming alcohol and marijuana,” she said.
The issues with the sound system came up when an attempt was made to play a video of the interviews between Goss, Clubb and Johnson. Only a short clip of the video was played.
Dillin has filed a civil suit against Beebe Mayor Mike Robertson and Johnson seeking $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages because she believes that Johnson and the mayor made accusations against her to “defame her,” knowing she had committed no crime.
However, a motion was filed last September to stay those proceedings because Johnson “has alleged that she is in bankruptcy” until such time she is dismissed from bankruptcy. Last Sept. 27, the motion was granted by assigned retired Judge Bentley E. Story.