READING, Jan. 19, 2012 — Reading School District has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant to help foster after-school educational programs, according to state Sen. Judy Schwank and state Rep. Tom Caltagirone.

Reading was one of 17 school districts across the state to receive the 21st Century Community Learning Center Challenge grant, which will be used to establish community learning centers that would provide educational services to students in struggling school districts.

“This is an innovative plan that will reinforce the lessons our students are learning in the classroom in a safe environment,” said Schwank (D-11th dist.). “We have so many bright and eager students in the Reading School District who want to learn, and thanks to this grant, they will be able to continue their studies after school dismissal.”

“Every child deserves an opportunity to succeed, and so many students can benefit from extra opportunities to learn and grow,” said Caltagirone (D-127th dist.). “This grant will help the Reading School District ensure that students are receiving a quality education.”

Reading was selected among 119 applicants from across the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Education distributed a total of $20.9 million in federal grant funding.