Local business pays off Buford students’ lunch debt

Following the example set by businesses and do-gooders across the country, Perimeter Roofing donated more than $1,800 to three Buford City Schools to pay off lunch balances Wednesday.

Todd Price, CEO of Perimeter Roofing, presented a check to the school nutrition program during a ceremony at Buford Elementary.

He has already begun began paying off elementary school debt across the area with the goal of paying off all children’s lunch balances throughout the state. After the Wednesday check presentation his company has paid off lunch debts at 67 schools in Georgia.

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Buford City Schools does not participate in an alternative meal program, according to spokeswoman Kerri Leland.

“All students receive the same lunch regardless of their ability to pay. Due to that stance, our cafeteria balances are often higher than other school districts who follow the alternative meal plan,” she said.

Megan Gower, Buford City Schools’ Director of Nutrition, was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“There are no adequate words to express my gratitude for Perimeter Roofing paying off all the charges in the School Nutrition Department for grades K-5,” she said. “Since we have moved away from giving alternative meals, our total in student meal debt has doubled. The managers and I spend countless hours calling, emailing, texting, and printing letters to send home to notify parents. Some families cannot make these payments. It's acts of kindness like this that warm our hearts the most because we do not want any student or family to feel burdened by school meal debt.”

Buford City Schools Superintendent Robert Downs agreed.

“The generosity of Perimeter Roofing to pay this debt is truly amazing,” he said. “Schools always perform at their highest level when they have the support of their community. We appreciate all that the community does to support our students.”

The US Department of Agriculture in July 2017 began requiring  schools to develop plans for students who have insufficient funds to pay for their meals. The USDA spends more than $22 billion a year on child nutrition programs, yet it prohibits schools from using federal funds to pay off meal debt.

Once the debt is considered noncollectable then the school district pays off the debt from general school funds.