- Andrew Marra Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A high-ranking Palm Beach County public school administrator has been reassigned while officials investigate his decision as principal of Boca Raton High School to let a straight-A student take a class without receiving a grade, a potential violation of state rules, according to district officials and court records.
Geoff McKee, Boca Raton High’s former longtime principal, has been transferred from his position as an instructional superintendent to a temporary post in the school district’s transportation department while the investigation proceeds.
The investigation was prompted by McKee’s decision in 2015 to let an ambitious Boca High student take a leadership class — allowing him to serve as a member of the school’s student government — without having the grade counted on his transcript, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
The student is now a senior and president of Boca Raton High’s student government association.
Since the leadership class was not a college-level class, the student and his father worried that even an A grade could have lowered the student’s weighted grade-point average, according to the suit, which names the student as the plaintiff but was filed by his father, attorney Frank Chapman.
To accomodate the student, McKee agreed that he could enroll in the class “without this grade being reflected on his transcript and in his Honors Grade Point Average calculation,” the suit says.
That agreement, the suit contends, allowed the student to serve in student government without losing an opportunity to attain a perfect 6.0 weighted grade-point average.
But allowing enrolled students to take a class without receiving a grade could run afoul of state rules, two school district officials said.
A school district spokeswoman said in a statement that officials are investigating McKee’s “adherence [to] administrative protocols and procedures in his previous role as principal of Boca Raton Community High School.”
In an email, McKee declined to comment on the case but said he was “grateful for every day I have had the privilege of serving Palm Beach County students and educators.”
The student “relied upon this contract and worked diligently making sacrifices to ensure that he would receive a 6.0 earning A’s in more high school-based college-level classes than any known student before him,” the suit says.
The suit contends that the agreement between McKee and Chapman’s son was a “contractual agreement” but that the school broke the agreement after McKee was promoted to an administrative post and a new principal was named.
As a result, the suit says the student is now forced to either accept a grade in the class or “be ‘kicked out’ as SGA president of Boca High.”
After Chapman pressured district officials to honor the arrangement, McKee became a subject of an internal school district probe focusing on his decision to allow the class “to not be taken for credit or a grade,” the suit says.
McKee, 54, was principal of Boca Raton High for 13 years, a period during which the school grew into an academic powerhouse. But his tenure hit turbulence when he was investigated and cited for proposing to a former teacher on the school’s football field without formally leasing the field, a move that officials called a violation of school district policy.
In 2015, at the height of the investigation, McKee sued the school district, alleging that district officials were basing their investigation on information that he claimed his ex-wife improperly obtained by hacking into his personal email account. (Police investigated the alleged hacking and found no probable cause that a crime was committed).
The following year, the investigation was resolved with a reprimand for McKee. Later that year, he was promoted to an instructional superintendent position. He earns an annual base salary of $135,000.