AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Educators said they are owed the money from an agreement the governor made with them shortly after taking office in 2003. They maintain that voters supported the notion of fully funding education when they overwhelming rejected the governor’s Proposition 76, which would have capped state spending and revised a funding guarantee for schools. “It was a bit uncomfortable, but we had to remind them that we won,” Wells said. “We also had to be honest with them about the numbers.” Republican lawmakers, already wary of Schwarzenegger’s decision this week to hire a Democratic activist as his new chief of staff, said they are following the early budget talks. They also are watching for any sign that the governor might go too far in making amends to schools. “There’s always that concern,” said Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman, R-Tustin. He said the education coalition is overreaching. SACRAMENTO – The state’s powerful education lobby has met privately with top aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and sought to make two points clear: It came out on top in the Nov. 8 special election and it wants the administration to make good on a $5.5 billion bill to schools next year. The Wednesday meeting, which lasted an hour, could prove a significant step in repairing the damaged relationship between the governor and educators. It also could hasten a resolution on education funding, a perennial sticking point in budget negotiations because it accounts for the greatest chunk of the state’s annual spending plan. “It was much more than a handshake meeting,” said Bob Wells, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators. “It was an opportunity for both sides to start saying some of the things that need to be said so that we can move on.” The stakes are high. The additional $5.5 billion that schools are requesting likely would force the state to cut other programs, draw on reserves or even borrow money. “If their opening salvo is that they want more money, I don’t think that’s going to impress anyone,” he said. Ackerman also said he did not believe voters gave any mandate in the special election and said his caucus will not support a significant hike in spending without more controls on how money is spent. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!