Calif principal sells shoe collection to save jobs

AP News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2011 9:03 PM
Calif principal sells shoe collection to save jobs

Worried about possible layoffs, school principal Michele Miller spotted a potential solution in her own home.

The principal of Jackson Elementary in El Dorado Hills, a suburb east of Sacramento, decided to part with most of a shoe collection gathered over the past 15 years.

She is selling 285 pairs _ which fill a room in her apartment _ to help close a district budget gap of up to $2.2 million. She's asking for a donation of $1,000 a pair to help save the jobs of 17 teachers, three vice principals, library technicians and others.

Miller felt the urge to act after leaving a late-night school board meeting March 8, when she learned the district faces a budget deficit of no less than $1.4 million, and possibly much higher.

"I came out of that meeting in a state of shock," Miller told The Associated Press. "I kept thinking, 'What do I have that I can sell?'"

She stayed up until 1 a.m. working out logistics to sell most of her 350 pairs of shoes.

Volunteers are uploading photos of the size 7-7 1/2 high-tops, cowboy boots, leopard-print rain boots, sandals, platforms and high heels to a website, http://www.shoestotherescue.com, which went live earlier this week. For some of the shoes, Miller will post stories on her website about the memories she attaches to them.

The site also contains two videos in which Miller appeals to viewers to "adopt" her shoes.

"They're my art form, but they're functional art," she told the AP.

Miller described her shoes to The Sacramento Bee as gently used and relatively inexpensive.

"They're not Jimmy Choos or Prada or Gucci or something like that," she said.

Miller said she has not received any orders for her shoes yet but is taking donations from those who want to help but don't need additional footwear.

The website accepts tax-deductible donations through PayPal, which funnels the money to a district account set up for the eight-week fundraiser. Any money collected is designated specifically to help preserve at-risk jobs in the Rescue Union School District.

Miller said she will pay for shipping herself, but might ask a local mail center to pitch in if orders take off.