ST. PAUL (AP) - School officials in Minnesota's rural districts say they've noticed a decline in applications for teaching jobs.

The Stephen-Argyle district's superintendent says only eight people applied for a job for the fall. He says ten years ago, the rural, northwest district would have received between 80 and 100.

The superintendent of the Win-E-Mac district in Erskine says a teacher opening only drew about 20 applicants. He says they normally would receive 150 applications for that position.

Richard Wassen of the state's education department says Minnesota needs to provide more incentives for teachers to lure them to rural districts. He says those incentives could include expanding college loan forgiveness programs for new teachers who take jobs in rural districts.