In the next four years Harmony Public Schools plans to open two Georgetown campuses—an elementary and high school—in an effort to offer more educational opportunities for families moving to the area.

“Georgetown is one of the fastest-growing communities in Texas, and it’s not surprising to see new companies and schools wanting to move here,” Georgetown City Council Member Ben Stewart said.

Officials with Harmony said the school system monitors growth trends to determine where there might be a need for an additional school option for local families. Harmony has purchased 28 acres of land between Blue Ridge Drive and FM 1460 for the new campuses.

“We’re extremely excited to be expanding into Georgetown in order to bring new educational opportunities to families throughout the community,” Harmony Central Texas Area Superintendent Mustafa Altindag said.

Effect on Georgetown ISD

Tracie Seed, Harmony director of communications and marketing, said the organization is open to collaborating with community groups, including school districts. However, advocates for public schools said charters detract from districts in a variety of ways, including funding.

“While charters say they are providing choice to parents, they are actually limiting choices for the majority of parents and students who choose to attend their public school district,” said Patti Everitt, an education policy consultant with a focus on charter school accountability.

Everitt said this is because school districts cannot cut costs dollar for dollar with the per-student loss in revenue.

“Every student that transfers to Harmony will increase the recapture payment that Georgetown pays to the state, so taxpayers will pay more but get less,” Everitt said.

This school year, GISD demographers are projecting enrollment to top 13,600 students as the community continues to grow.

“I don’t know much about what Harmony has to offer compared to Georgetown ISD, but the district is projected to have record enrollment this coming school year,” Stewart said. “Time will tell what impact Harmony could have on GISD.”

GISD declined to comment on this story.

“Harmony will support the city’s growth and development by preparing its students to succeed,” Harmony Chief Financial Officer Nihat Bayhan said in a letter to City Council. “The city is growing, and with that growth comes the need for schools.”

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct Patti Everitt's role.