Lenoir City Board of Education approved funding Thursday to get copier service back at Lenoir City High School.

Board members Mitch Ledbetter and Glenn McNish motioned and seconded, respectively, to approve up to $1,804.25 for Novatech. The vote passed 4-0, with board member Bobby Johnson Sr. absent.

Jeanie Mowery, Lenoir City Schools co-budget manager, said Novatech has stated it did not receive electric meter readings from the contract’s start in October 2019 through February. The amount initially billed was $5,721.06, which Mowery said included $4,678.70 in overage charges and $1,042.36 in regular monthly equipment charges.

Novatech has said it would extend a $2,000 credit toward $2,761.89 in overage charges, but documentation has not been offered showing their readings.

“Actually there was an invoice from last May that we never received and so the invoice never actually got to us until after the fiscal year,” Mowery said. “Because of that, if it’s not paid within the fiscal year, the board has to approve the payment. But that particular invoice they had charged us a really high amount. The actual base amount that we owed for that bill was $1,042.36, but there was a whole lot of overage charges on that, and it was like about $5,700 that was billed to us.

“We have been going back and forth with them for months because as we investigated, No. 1, it was over a 17-month period they said that their equipment malfunctioned and didn’t send them readings on our copier,” she added. “... They said that they didn’t get our readings. However, they never called us and told us, they never checked on it directly and then all of a sudden we get this invoice with a large amount of charges on it.”

Mowery said LCHS has gone about a month without Novatech servicing the copiers. She said she needed board approval to negotiate charges allegedly owed.

“The next step will be that I’ve got to get back with the copy company and talk about this again and see where they’re coming from on these overage charges they’re saying now and then decide what payment they will accept,” she said.

Novatech’s contract expires Jan. 30, 2025.

“Jeanie Mowery has spent hours going back and forth with them,” Jeanne Barker, Lenoir City director of schools, said. “They have come down, so we will look at what they have sent and if there is some legitimacy to what they’ve done we’ll decide that. But we have not paid the bid until that was settled and now it’s causing issues with service at the high school right now.”

In other news, Lenoir City Board of Education:

• Recognized veterans who work within the school district.

• Approved the proposed 2022-23 school year calendar.

• Awarded the city schools beverage contract to Coca-Cola Consolidated.

• Approved revisions to policies in curriculum development, student disciplinary hearing authority and alternative education.