The Dickson County school system is beginning work on its 2013-14 budget proposal and is bracing for possible reductions in federal funding caused by the automatic cuts being made in Washington in the latest budget crisis. Director of Schools Dr. Danny Weeks told the school board last week that the commissioner of the Department of Education has warned local school systems to anticipate a 2.5 to 5 percent change in federal funds. While a lot can still happen before the start of the new fiscal year in July, Weeks said Dickson County schools “might have to take a hard look” at special education funding should federal cuts be implemented. At Monday night’s county commission work session, schools Finance Director Linda Frazier said the system is preparing for budget adjustments. “We will be affected at some point,” Frazier told commissioners. She said the system has not yet seen any indication that there will be an impact on the school nutrition program, which gets its funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Weeks told the school board that work on the new budget is starting with meetings with each principal to determine school needs and then will move to the directors and office staff in continuing to compile a wish list. “We are not saying ‘no’ to anybody at this time,” Weeks said. Major budget issues still to be addressed include whether the board will ask for any funds for projects in its long-range facilities plan, what school safety improvements will come out of a special committee, raises for teachers after their current contract expires and will the board continue to make a $1 million annual contribution toward the county’s debt service.