"Maybe because we don't have a school we naturally feed into and we're a neighborhood that automatically has to go to school somewhere else, it feels like we could be put anywhere," he said.

'Can't hide anxiety from kids'

Because they already had been redistricted, the Tucks said they weren't surprised when the board vote came in November. So certain that they would be redistricted again, Debbie and Ted Tuck told Rylee before the vote was even final.

Joanne DiMaggio said she and her husband weren't surprised by the vote, either, for the same reason as the Tucks: their neighborhood near Patapsco State Park and the Baltimore County line is so far from any school, they, too, could easily be moved.

"We're so close to the end of the county," Dennis DiMaggio said. "We're the last bus stop in Howard County. We were sure that if a redistricting happened, we would fall into it. Besides, there's always rumors, and Veterans was immediately overcrowded after it opened."

An integral part of the elementary school redistricting plan was the opening of Ducketts Lane in Elkridge. Currently, the school system is preparing for a third straight year of redistricting, this time at the middle school level.

Like last year's plan, the upcoming redistricting process — which begins Thursday, June 13, with the presentation of the annual feasibility study — will focus on opening a new school, this one in Hanover. School officials have said it's unlikely the redistricting will affect people outside that region of the county.

Still, going "piece by piece" when it comes to redistricting can't be sustainable in the long run, Dennis DiMaggio said. Perhaps, he and Joanne said, a comprehensive redistricting including the entire county would be more beneficial.

"When it's all about what group yells the loudest, you have to imagine that slows down the process a little bit," he said. "No one wants to do it all at once."

While changing schools is tough, Dennis DiMaggio said, the kids are resilient. Other schools in the area have reputations equally as good as Veterans, he said, and while parents may have an initial discomfort phase, all it takes for his daughter is to find one new friend and "she'll be good by lunch" on the first day of school.

"Parents making a fuss are setting up their kids to have more anxiety, because you can't hide anxiety from kids," he said. "If families and parents are in turmoil, the kids are going to have a harder time adjusting. This is life and life is about change. These kids are going to make new friends and it's going to be great."