CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s back to class today for 400,000 students at the Chicago Public Schools, and the new year is bringing a new bell time for some students, and plenty of controversy for the cash-strapped district.

CPS changed the start times for 48 schools this year. The changes range from as little as 15 minutes to as much as 1 hour 15 minutes; some schools start earlier than last year, while others start later. For a full list of the changes in start times, click here.

The district has said the changes are meant to save money on school buses. It will be able to stagger bus routes, and use fewer buses to get kids to and from school.

Originally, the district had planned to change start times for 82 schools, but scaled back that plan after a wave of complaints from parents, students, and school administrators. The original plan would have saved the district $9 million, while the current plan will save about $5 million.

That’s barely a drop in the bucket for a school district that is facing a $1.1 billion budget shortfall. Over the summer, CPS cut $200 million in spending, in large part through more than 1,400 job cuts, including nearly 500 teacher layoffs.

Even with those cuts, the district’s budget crisis persists. CPS has banked on about $500 million in pension relief from Springfield to help ease the burden. However, the ongoing state budget stalemate between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic state lawmakers has any pension fix from the state on hold, and the district has warned deeper cuts could be made this winter if they don’t get the relief they’re seeking.

It’s also the first school year for new CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool, who is Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s third appointment to the post. He has been tasked with getting the district back on solid financial ground at a time the administration is negotiating a new contract with teachers, who are starting the school year under a contract that expired in June.

“There’s a huge cloud of uncertainty that’s hanging over the school year. We don’t have a teachers’ contract. Negotiations have recently hit a snag, with Forrest Claypool pulling what seemed like a close deal off the table. There are a couple hundred million dollars of cuts to special education,” Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey said.

Emanuel has proposed a $175 million property tax increase for the schools, but only if teachers agree to what would equate to a 7 percent pay cut. Since 1981, the district has paid all but 2 percent of teachers 9 percent pension contribution, but the Emanuel administration wants to end that so-called “pension pickup.”

Talks with the Chicago Teachers Union have stalled, though a strike could not occur for at least a few more months.

The CTA was providing free rides to and from school for the fifth year in a row. CPS students and accompanying adults will get to ride buses and trains for free from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Museum of Science and Industry is giving away two free passes to every CPS student who attends the first day of class. Claypool said such incentives have helped get more kids in their seats in the past few years.

“Children who attend the first day of school are more likely to get a good foothold in school, to do better socially and emotionally in getting off to a good start, as well as academically,” Claypool said.

CPS has added seven new Safe Passage routes to help protect kids while they’re headed to school. More than 75,000 students attending 140 schools can take advantage of Safe Passage routes this year.