BANGOR, Maine — Registered voters in Bangor have the opportunity next week to vote on a $42.5 million school department budget and also to decide whether the city should continue the practice of approving school budgets through referendum.

The local ballot contains two questions. The first states:

“Do you favor approving the Bangor School Department budget for the upcoming school year that was adopted at the latest regional school unit budget meeting and that includes locally raised funds that exceed the required local contribution as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act?”

The Bangor School Committee and the Bangor City Council both approved the school budget for 2010-11 last month. The school department was able to avoid deep cuts to essential services by using $1.5 million in federal stimulus funding to offset losses in contribution from the state Department of Education.

If approved by voters, the school department’s share of Bangor’s tax rate would increase from $8.70 to $8.77.

The second local question states:

“Do you wish to continue the budget validation referendum process for the Bangor School Department for an additional three years?”

City Clerk Patti Dubois said because voter turnout is typically low in a primary election, it often costs Bangor thousands of dollars to hold an election that generates little public interest.

All Bangor voters must cast ballots at the Bangor Civic Center, which is open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, June 7.

Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.