CHICAGO (AP) – Nearly one-quarter of Illinois school districts contain just a single school, and they spend significantly more to educate each child.

Government data reviewed by the Chicago Tribune shows Illinois has 214 districts with a single school – the most in the nation.

In the Chicago area, they spend about $2,000 more per student than multi-school districts do. The difference downstate is about $600 per student.

Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed merging school districts to save money. He wants to cut the current 868 districts down to about 300.

But others say local taxpayers cover most of school budgets, so they should be allowed to have small districts with more one-on-one teaching if they want.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.