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The Seattle School Board approved an amendment Wednesday that board members believe will address legal problems with the district’s plan to allow a number of schools to pursue new, innovative approaches to learning.   The vote was 5-2.

In July, a King County Superior Court Judge ruled that the school board must approve any waivers of district policy.  In the original agreement on the Creative Approach School plan,  the superintendent and a joint district-union committee would have had approval power.   The board’s vote Wednesday returns final authority on waivers to the school board.

Board members also debated the role the public would have in determining whether a school  could become a Creative Approach School, and what form that would take.  Eighty percent of a school’s staff must agree for an application to go forward.   Union leaders and district staff said Wednesday they would oppose any application that lacked support from a majority of parents.

Fourteen schools have indicated they would like to become Creative Approach Schools, which can ask to be exempt from almost any district policy or teacher contract provision.  The schools must convince the district and the union that research shows their approaches will help raise student achievement and that they will not cost the district extra money.

The first applications are due Thursday, with time for revisions before final approval at the end of November.  The schools are scheduled to open in September 2013.