Cluny School will close at the end of the 2016/2017 school year.

School leaders informed the faculty and staff at 4 p.m., and parents at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the school’s campus located at 75 Brenton Road in Newport.

“It is with a deep sadness that we announce the closure of Cluny School,” said Sister Luke Parker, President of the Cluny School Corporation and Provincial of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny in a prepared statement on Wednesday evening.

The Cluny School), established in 1957, is a private Catholic elementary school for grades PK -8 and is incorporated into the Catholic School System of the Diocese of Providence. Cluny School is administered under the direction of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny and is staffed by lay teachers and Sisters.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny have provided staff support, leadership and financial assistance to the Cluny School throughout its history.

“Despite the best efforts of so many over the past few years to reverse the trend in declining enrollment, the school’s leadership reached the conclusion that we did not have sufficient resources to continue our mission of educating and empowering our students to live lives of integrity based on Gospel values,” said Sister Luke.

According to Cluny School’s website, Cluny School relies on the generosity of supporters to help close the gap in their annual operating budget – “Like most independent schools, the tuition does not fully cover the cost of educating our students.”

The Cluny School first opened as a small kindergarten in September of 1957 in response to a request made to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny from military families stationed at Fort Adams. A grade was added each year thereafter until the first Cluny eighth grade graduation in 1965. The school operates on a portion of land donated to the Diocese of Providence by the estate of the late Arthur Curtiss James, which was deeded to the Diocese of Providence in 1941.

“Cluny School would not be the exceptional educational and faith community it is today without the support of so many who generously donated their time, talent and treasure to its advancement since the school’s founding,” said Richard Smith, Chairman of the Cluny School’s Board of Directors. “This tradition of generosity began with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny who, without remuneration, staffed the School through much of its history and have not only inspired its mission, but provided significant financial support, including increased assistance in recent years as the declining enrollment placed added financial pressure on the school.”  “However,” added Sr. Luke, “the closure of Cluny School will not overshadow its rich history nor the important contributions our graduates have made, and will continue to make, in this world.”

At the request of the Cluny School’s Board of Directors, the Rhode Island Superior Court has appointed Theodore Orson as a Special Master to provide a public report within three weeks on the financial condition of the school.

School leaders have confirmed that they will work to help students and families transition to new schools.

This story is developing and will be updated as new and more information is received.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).